This week, in the wake of the Orlando shooting, Democratic Senator Chris Murphy filibustered for over 14 hours, pushing for gun control reform. By early morning Thursday, at around 2 AM, Republicans agreed to vote on two gun control measures.
One calls for the expansion of background checks and the other, known as the ‘No Fly, No Buy’ bill, prohibits people on some government terrorist watchlists from buying firearms.
Jerry Belair, the president of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence, says even though the legislation is not as comprehensive as it should be, it is a step in the right direction.
“It makes no sense. They can’t get a seat on a plane, but they can buy a gun,” Belair said.
Democratic Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse were in attendance during the filibuster.
— Sheldon Whitehouse (@SenWhitehouse) June 16, 2016
— Senator Jack Reed (@SenJackReed) June 16, 2016
‘No Fly, No Buy’ was introduced by Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, and has been endorsed by President Barack Obama and both presidential nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. This legislation is expected to be voted on Monday.
The American Civil Liberties Union, among other organizations and individuals, has raised concerns about the ‘No Fly, No Buy’ legislation. The ACLU argues the watchlisting system should not be the backbone of gun control legislation, because the watchlisting system is flawed.
“Our nation’s watchlisting system is error-prone and unreliable because it uses vague and overbroad criteria and secret evidence to place individuals on blacklists without a meaningful process to correct government error and clear their names.
The government contends that it can place Americans on the No Fly List who have never been charged let alone convicted of a crime, on the basis of prediction that they nevertheless pose a threat (which is undefined) of conduct that the government concedes ‘may or may not occur.’ Criteria like these guarantee a high risk of error and it is imperative that the watchlisting system include due process safeguards—which it does not. In the context of the No Fly List, for example, the government refuses to provide even Americans who know they are on the List with the full reasons for the placement, the basis for those reasons, and a hearing before a neutral decision-maker.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations has also spoken out about how this legislation would disproportionately impact Muslim Americans.
As for Rhode Island gun reform, Governor Gina Raimondo publicly supported legislation that would ban high capacity magazines, ban guns from schools and prevent people convicted of domestic violence from owning a guns during this week’s vigil for Orlando.
State Police Chief Colonel Stephen O’Donnell told Rhode Island Public Radio that he also supports the ban on high capacity magazines.
“”I have friends that are hunters. They use high capacity weapons, but not magazines. They use several rounds to hunt, but they don’t need 15, 30, and 45 round clips to hunt an animal,” O’ Donnell said.