Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton sharply criticized members of the U.S. Senate today who voted against a proposal just a day earlier aimed at preventing known terrorists or those suspected of being a terrorist from purchasing guns.
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“Last night, the Senate voted down a law to block suspected terrorists from buying guns. We have thousands of people on a no-fly list. They get put on there based on credible information and suspicion that they should not be put on a plane inside our country or coming into our country,” Clinton said at a campaign event in Sioux Falls, Iowa. “I got to tell you -- if you’re too dangerous to fly in America, you are too dangerous to buy a gun in America.”
The gun-control measure was voted down by the Senate on a 45-54 procedural hurdle.
Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota voted against the proposed amendment, while Republican Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois voted in favor.
The proposal from Sen. Dianne Feinstein. D-California, was an amendment to the Obamacare repeal bill, which would allow the attorney general to block efforts to sell or transfer of a gun or explosive to a suspect or known terrorists if the individual is believed to use the weapon in an act of terrorism.
As the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced today it was officially investigating the mass shooting in San Bernardino as an "act of terrorism,” Clinton doubled down on her call for gun control.
“We’re learning more literally by the hour, there certainly is much more support for the view that this was a terrorist act,” Clinton said at the Carpenters Training Center in northwest Iowa. “I have a great deal of confidence with law enforcement, local, state, federal. I am convinced that they will do everything they can to run down every lead no matter where it might take them anywhere in the world.”
Despite the timing, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, responded with an alternative proposal that would better protect the Second Amendment right of people who mistakenly end up on the nation’s terrorist watch list.
The Texas senator’s proposal also called for restricting funding to “sanctuary cities,” areas where local law enforcement officials do not comply with federal immigration law.
Cornyn’s alternative was also rejected by the Senate by a 55-44 vote.
Senate also voted down a second proposal to the amendment to the Obamacare repeal bill, from Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, to expand background checks for guns purchased online and at gun shows by a 48-to-50 vote.
Meanwhile, in New Hampshire, Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio said background checks would not have helped prevent the California killings.
“Ultimately, there’s no background check in the world that would have identified them,” Rubio said today at a campaign event with the Seacoast Republican Women at the Portsmouth Country Club. “This man was not on any terrorist watch list," he said referring to Syed Farook, one of the suspects.
When asked specifically about no-fly list legislation, Rubio pushed back.
“You’re talking about denying people a Second Amendment, Constitutional right because the federal government made a mistake,” he said.