The mass killing of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., brought the issue of gun safety back to the forefront in Congress.

The Senate will vote on four proposals on Monday, including legislation to prevent those on the government's terrorist watch list from buying guns and explosives.

The votes were announced after U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) helped block action on the spending bill for the Justice Department and other agencies while he and other Senate Democrats called for action on gun legislation.

The filibuster was led by Sen. Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.), whose state includes Newtown, where 20 elementary school students and six adults were gunned down in 2012. Booker referred to his own experiences as mayor of Newark, which has its own problems with gun violence.

Jonathan D. Salant | NJ Advance Media for NJ.comBy Jonathan D. Salant | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com 
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on June 20, 2016 at 8:31 AM, updated June 20, 2016 at 11:10 AM

WASHINGTON — The mass killing of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., brought the issue of gun safety back to the forefront in Congress.

The Senate will vote on four proposals on Monday, including legislation to prevent those on the government's terrorist watch list from buying guns and explosives.

The votes were announced after U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) helped block action on the spending bill for the Justice Department and other agencies while he and other Senate Democrats called for action on gun legislation.

The filibuster was led by Sen. Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.), whose state includes Newtown, where 20 elementary school students and six adults were gunned down in 2012. Booker referred to his own experiences as mayor of Newark, which has its own problems with gun violence.

 

Booker, Menendez join Senate filibuster

Booker, Menendez join Senate filibuster

Senate Democrats held up action in the chamber to try to force a vote on banning suspected terrorists from buying guns.

 

"Why was Senator Cory Booker here every minute of the time with Senator Murphy?" Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said in a floor speech Thursday. "He was here because he lives in an area where people are killed —  several a week where he lives in his neighborhood. He gave one of the most passionate speeches on Tuesday in our caucus about holding a little boy who was shot in the head and dying in his arms."

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) joined the filibuster as well.

On Monday, Menendez, Booker, and Reps. Albio Sires (D-8th Dist.) and Donald Payne Jr. (D-10th Dist.) were to join local officials, gun safety groups and advocacy organizations for a rally in downtown Newark.

In the House, 181 members, including all six New Jersey Democrats, signed a petition to force the bill to the floor for a vote.

"It's outrageous and inexcusable that anyone suspected of or has possible ties to terrorist organizations can still legally purchase guns in this country," said Rep. Donald Norcross (D-1st Dist.) at a press conference in Pennsauken on Friday. "If you're on the 'do not fly list,' our policy should be simple. Just four words: 'No fly, no buy."

Norcross is one of four bill co-sponsors from New Jersey. The others are Reps. Sires, Payne and Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-9th Dist.).

While none of the state's Republicans have signed the petition, they expressed a willingness this week to address the issue. One of them, Rep. Leonard Lance (R-7th Dist.), has co-sponsored a bill that would give the U.S. attorney general three days to review a proposed gun purchase by a suspected terrorist or go to court to prevent the sale permanently.

The measure "would close the so-called 'terror loophole' and ban the sales of guns and explosives to suspected terrorists," Lance spokesman John Byers said.

Here's where the other Republicans stand:

Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-2nd Dist.): "Congressman LoBiondo absolutely believes terrorists shouldn't have access to guns and awaits to see what legislation is brought to the full House for a vote," spokesman Jason Galanes said. 

Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-3rd Dist.): "Terrorists should never be allowed to purchase weapons, period. There are serious problems with the monitoring process — first and foremost the fact that terrorist Omar Mateen was on this list, and removed. Why did this happen? Our families are afraid and these issues need to be addressed now."

Rep. Chris Smith (R-4th Dist.): "I voted for the Brady law to help keep guns out of the hands of felons, domestic abusers and fugitives — terror suspects must be blocked from procuring weapons."

Rep. Scott Garrett (R-5th Dist.): "I completely support banning terrorists from buying weapons. We need to seriously reform and clarify secretive government lists that can accidentally blacklist innocent Americans and strip them of their due process rights. We can't ignore the immediate threat posed to our country and our freedoms by the kind of radical ideology that caused the terrorist attack in Orlando, and we need a plan to defeat ISIS once and for all."

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.): "The House of Representatives just passed, with strong bipartisan support, my Defense Appropriations bill which funds America's fight against global terrorism. No one is more committed to protecting Americans at home and abroad than I. Nobody wants terrorists to have firearms.  Nobody. But clearly something was missed here to allow this homegrown, radicalized monster to execute his plot. Potential failures need to be identified and corrected and Speaker (Paul) Ryan is committed to putting legislation forward to address these gaps."

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