Republican Senator Seeks Bipartisan Support for Gun Deal | NBC 10 Philadelphia
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Republican Senator Seeks Bipartisan Support for Gun Deal

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    A moderate Republican senator was seeking broad support Tuesday for a compromise to block guns from suspected terrorists, a day after the chamber split along partisan lines to derail each party's more sweeping proposals. 

    Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, was discussing her plan with GOP leaders and said she expected the Senate to vote on her proposal. 

    "I remain encouraged," she said.

    There was no immediate word from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on whether a vote would occur. And it remained unclear whether she could attract enough support to win if a vote were held. 

    In an ominous sign, the National Rifle Association's chief lobbyist criticized Collins' emerging effort, though he stopped short of outright opposition to it. 

    "According to reports, Sen. Collins and others would prefer to continue to talk about gun control and ignore the growing threat from ISIS," an acronym for the Islamic State group, the NRA's Chris W. Cox said in a statement. 

    Cox said keeping guns from terrorists and "providing meaningful due process are not mutually exclusive." 

    That could be aimed at a provision in Collins' bill that allows people to appeal to federal courts after they've been denied a gun, not before it happens.

    Collins was pushing her proposal at a time when election-year politics has made partisan compromise on guns difficult to achieve. 

    Even after the June 12 mass shooting in Orlando by a sympathizer of Islamic State extremists that left 49 people dead, neither party has seemed eager to cut a deal that might anger its most loyal voters — NRA-backing conservatives and pro-gun control liberals. 

    The government's overall terrorist watch list has 1 million people on it. Collins' proposal would let federal prosecutors bar guns to two narrower groups of suspected terrorists: the no-fly list with 81,000 people and the selectee list with 28,000 people. 

    Selectees are people who can fly after unusually intensive screening. Nearly all the people on all three lists are foreigners. 

    Under Collins' proposal, Americans denied guns could appeal their rejection to the U.S. Court of Appeals.

    In addition, the FBI would be notified if someone who's been on the broader terrorist watch list in the past five years buys a gun. 

    Senators expressing support for Collins' plan included Democrats Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico and Tim Kaine of Virginia, along with independent Angus King of Maine, who usually backs Democrats. 

    Republicans supporting her included Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Lindsay Graham of South Carolina.