WASHINGTON (WJZ/AP)– A divided Senate blocked rival election-year plans to curb guns Monday, eight days after the horror of Orlando’s mass shooting intensified pressure on lawmakers to act but knotted them in gridlock anyway — even over restricting firearms for terrorists.
In largely party-line votes, senators rejected one proposal from each side to keep extremists from acquiring guns and a second shoring up the government’s system of required background checks for many firearms purchases.
The renewed debate over gun control sends more customers to gun shops.
It’s happening in Maryland and around the country where trying to restrict access to guns creates a rush to buy them.
America mourns the victims of the Orlando massacre while Congress debates what to do about assault weapons.
Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski urges passage of amendments to ban people on no fly and terrorist watch lists from buying guns and expand background checks to include sales online and at gun shows.
“Innocent Americans have died time and time again, in a church like in Charleston, in schools like Newtown, in a movie theater or at work,” said Mikulski.
At the same time proposed restrictions are pushing gun sales.
“Gun sales have come up again, cause people are just scared the president’s going to put a law through that makes people not be able to buy guns or take the AR-15’s away from us,” said Bill Loane, with Pasadena Pawn and Gun.
It’s a common reaction. Like when Maryland State Police saw a backlog of applications in 2013 when new gun laws were enacted here.
Wondering what was business like then?
“Swamped. Record-breaking gun sales,” says Loane.
But the majority of Americans polled, Democrats and Republicans, do support expanded background checks.
A Republican plan would require the FBI to get a court order to stop a sale to a suspected terrorist, a proposal backed by the NRA.
Meanwhile it is expected that gun sales will continue to rise as Congress continues to debate.
Maryland lawmakers who supported a no-fly/no-buy bill last year say they’ll bring it up in the general assembly again next year.