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Saturday, August 19, 2017

This article has been updated to reflect that Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) voted for all four gun control measures.

Barely more than a week after 49 people lost their lives in the worst mass shooting in American history, Congress has once again voted against gun control. The GOP-controlled Senate rejected four measures that would’ve made background-checks mandatory and prevented names on the terror list watch list from buying guns. Similar gun-control measures were also rejected after the Sandy Hook Elementary School and San Bernardino shootings.

Sen. Chris Murphy, who kick-started the vote with a 15-hour filibuster last week, and who sponsored two of the measures, said he was not surprised by the outcome, “I’m going to be turning my attention to the November election. I’m going to take some of my energy and help make sure that people who cast the wrong vote don’t come back to the Senate,” he told Politico.

“Sadly, our efforts are blocked by the Republican Congress, who take their marching orders from the National Rifle Association.” Said Democratic Sen. Harry Reid in a floor speech.

The Center for Responsive Politics reports:

Gun rights interests have given more than $37 million to candidates, parties and outside spending groups since 1989, with 88 percent of the funds contributed to candidates and parties going to Republicans. And in the 2012 and 2014 election cycles, they let loose another $48 million (at least) in outside spending.

The NRA has provided the lion’s share of the funds, having contributed $22.3 million since 1989. During the 2014 election cycle, it further opened its coffers to make $27 million in outside expenditures.

GOP senators who voted against the “No Fly, No Buy” proposal said that they were just trying to protect the gun rights of people who mistakenly end up on the terror watch list. Instead, Republicans offered two countermeasures: one that would have placed a 72-hour hold on gun sales to people on the terrorist watch list, and another which would have expanded the legal definitions that prevent people with mental health issues form buying guns.

Democrats overwhelmingly rejected those, saying they would have made no difference in the Orlando tragedy.

According to the latest CNN/ORC poll, 92 percent of respondents said they wanted to expand background checks, and 85 percent said they supported a ban for people on federal watch lists from buying guns. Ninety percent of Republicans questioned favored preventing people on the terror list from buying guns, compared to 85 percent of questioned Democrats.

So with support for gun control at an all time high, even amongst Republicans, which senators voted against the restrictions, and why?

The voting occurred mostly along partisan lines, with 53 of 54 Republicans voting against the two Democratic measures. But it was not only Republicans: Sen. Jon Tester voted against Chris Murphy’s bill, and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp voted against Diane Feinstein’s bill.

These senators are two of few Democrats to have taken NRA money — Heitkamp has received $8,000 from gun groups throughout her career and Tester has received $2,50s.

Both senators will seek reelection in heavily republican states in 2018.

Only one Republican, Sen. Mark Kirk voted in favor of both Democratic bills. Kirk is the only GOP Senator that has received anything lower than an A- rating from the NRA. Coincidentally, he has also not received money from gun groups. Kirk represents Illinois, and Chicago is one of the most gun-violent cities in the nation, with more than 1,780 people shot this year. He’s facing reelection in November.

Money from gun rights groups can be traced to the campaigns of all 53 Republican senators who voted against the measure. Over the course of these senators’ careers, the NRA has given a staggering $36,290,699.

One GOP senator, Kelly Ayotte from New Hapmshire, voted for Sen. Diane Feinstein’s bill, but against Chris Murphy’s. Ayotte’s approval ratings fell when she voted against expanding background checks after the 2010 Newtown shooting and is in a tight battle for reelection against Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan. She is now working with Sen. Susan Collins on yet another attempt at compromise.

“To get to that solution, we have to move this debate forward,” said Ayotte said on the Senate floor after voting. She has taken in $29,295 in contributions from gun groups.

Collins has received $19,800 from gun rights groups throughout her career.

Here are the other Republican senators who voted against the measures, and the amounts of money they have received from gun rights groups throughout their careers. Note that these are only direct contributions: the gun lobby spends millions of dollars in “outside spending,” or advertising and other efforts which cannot be legally coordinated directly with campaign committees.

John Cornyn (TX) $169,625

John Thune (SD) $159,705

Mitch McConnell (KY) $132,700

Roy Blunt (MO) $122,630

Jim Inhofe (OK) $121,850

Rand Paul (KY) $109,045

Dean Heller (NV) $104,265

Richard Burr (NC) $97,050

Richard Shelby (AL) $96,850

Pat Toomey (PA) $96,077

Cory Gardner (CO) $93,434

Lindsey Graham (SC) $90,866

Pat Roberts (KA) $90,150

Ted Cruz (TX) $89,579

David Vitter (LA) $79,748

Marco Rubio (FL) $77,139

John McCain (AZ) $76,225

Chuck Grassley (IA) $75,600

Mike Crapo (ID), $72,940

Steve Daines (MO) $72,680

Jeff Sessions (AL) $62,200

Roger Wicker (MI) $59,250

Shelley Capito (WV) $58,200

Ron Johnson (WI) $57,925

Bill Cassidy (LA) $57,153

Tom Cotton (AR) $55,189

Rob Portman (OH) $55,150

Thad Cochran (MI) $53,050

Jeff Flake (AZ) $46,200

John Barrasso (WY) $46,099

Jim Risch (ID) $44,200

Jerry Moran (KA) $43,850

Orrin Hatch (UT) $38,350

Mike Enzi (WY) $37,500

James Lankford (OK) $37,425

John Hoeven (ND), $35,700

Lamar Alexander (TN) $34,750

Lisa Murkowski (AK) $34,358

Johnny Isakson (GA) $33,400

Deb Fischer (NE) $31,100

Joni Ernst (IA) $28,700

Thom Tillies (NC) $28,700

Tim Scott (SC) $27,400

John Boozman (AR) $26,235

Dan Coats (IN) $22,900

Bob Corker (TN) $22,440

Mike Lee (UT) $21,500

Ben Sasse (NE) $20,307

David Perdue (GA) $17,150

Mike Rounds (SD) $17,100

Dan Sullivan (AK) $12,036

 

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) (C) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) (R) speak to reporters after ending a 14-hour filibuster in the hopes of pressuring the U.S. Senate to action on gun control measures, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. June 16, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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