Yesterday, GOP members of the House Appropriations Committee blocked an amendment to a bill that would have barred people on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s suspected terrorists list from buying guns. The GOP made a political move that supports the very terrorists whom they have so staunchly condemned.
Republicans voted out the amendment, proposed by Reps. Nita Lowey (D-NY) and David Price (D-NC), on strict party lines, 29-19. The amendment was attached to the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Act, which supports funding of the Department of Commerce, the Department of Justice, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), among others.
The politically-contradictory motion by committee Republicans to kill the amendment shocked many House Democrats, especially those on the Judiciary Committee. In 2011, a similar piece of legislation was proposed by Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) but also voted down by Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee. Quigley quickly condemned the GOP for taking away “civil liberties for the sake of fighting terrorism . . . but refusing to restrict Second Amendment rights for the same purpose.”
The National Rifle Association has had a strong influence in recent gun legislation. Their lobbying efforts surely played a role in stalling the Fix Gun Checks Act, the amendment that would have required background checks for all gun purchases. In April, the Senate failed to pass the amendment despite the bill having close to 90 percent of popular support. It’s likely that the NRA’s political affiliations played a role in crashing this most recent amendment. In fact, of the 29 Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee, 25 of them receive contributions from the NRA.
Lowey was astounded at the backwards logic of the GOP, saying “A suspected terrorist cannot board a plane but can pass a background check to buy a gun. It is absurd that my Republican colleagues opposed our amendment to close this dangerous gap in our gun safety laws.”
Joshua de Leon is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire.