Sunday Mar 31, 201302:52 PM GMT
Graham: Current gun control laws not enforced
Sun Mar 31, 2013 2:49PM
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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Sunday blasted Democratic efforts to pass new gun control laws, vowing that a bill Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) plans to bring to the floor next month was “going nowhere.”

 

Graham singled out universal background checks as the reason he and other Republicans would vote against or filibuster the legislation. Graham argued that existing laws on background checks should be enforced before those laws are expanded.

 

“The current system is broken,” Graham said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “Why in the world would you expand that system if you’re not enforcing the law that exists today to include private transfers [for background checks]? So I think that legislation is going nowhere, but I’d like to have a robust debate about improving the system.”

 

The South Carolina Republican said he would not join a group of five Senate Republicans who wrote a letter last week to Reid pledging to filibuster “any legislation that will serve as a vehicle for any additional gun restrictions,” unless Reid decided against allowing for alternative amendments in the floor vote.

 

But Graham said he would vote against legislation to expand background checks unless more was done to enforce laws already on the books.

 

Next month, Reid plans to bring to the floor a gun bill that would expand background checks, toughen penalties on straw purchases of firearms and provide funds for school safety.

 

The portion of the bill on illegal trafficking of firearms has bipartisan support, but background checks, once called the “sweet spot” for reform by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), have become a roadblock, as Republicans argue existing laws aren’t enforced and that the record keeping requirements it would entail are akin to a federal registry.

 

“This idea of private individuals transferring their weapons and having to go through a background check makes no sense,” Graham continued on Sunday. “Before you’d expand the background check there are 76,000 people last year who failed a background check and less than 1 percent got prosecuted. There are 9,000 people in 2010 failed a background check who were felons on the run, so before you expand background checks to include private individuals let’s put resources into the current system we have.” The Hill

 

FACTS & FIGURES

 

President Barack Obama has just a small window in which to persuade Congress to back a series of gun control measures that will come up for a vote in the Senate early next month. And his earlier remarks, delivered in an impassioned and off-script manner, were aimed at reviving the impetus that gun-control advocates fear they are losing as more time passes since the shootings. NY Times

 

The president touted his proposal to establish a universal system of background checks for gun buyers in order to keep guns out of the hands of those who should not have them. Talk Radio News

 

Several Republicans have threatened to filibuster gun reform measures in the Senate. Without 60 of the 100 senators needed to break a filibuster, almost all of the packages proposed by Obama could fall. Obama reiterated he still wanted a ban on military-style assault weapons, even though the Democratic leader in the Senate, Harry Reid, has effectively said it has no chance. The Guardian

 

Meanwhile, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) responded to Obama's latest call for action on gun control, launching criticism at the White House and promising to do everything in his power to stop the administration's push for stricter legislation. The Huffington Post

 

AGB/ARA

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