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Mitch Perry Report for 6.21.16 — After gun control proposals go down, Bill Nelson says “The NRA wins again”

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

The U.S. Senate voted on four different gun-control proposals last night — two offered by Republicans, two by Democrats.

They all failed.

First up was California Democrat Dianne Feinstein‘s bit, which would give the Department of Justice the power to stop anyone on the terror watch list from buying a gun. That garnered just 47 votes.

Then came Texas Republican John Cornyn‘s proposal, which would have law enforcement notified when someone on the terror watch list tries to buy a gun, failed with just 53 votes (you need 60 in the Senate to pass anything).

Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy — a hero to Democrats for leading their nearly 15-hour filibuster last week that compelled GOP Senate leadership to hold the votes yesterday — then proposed a universal background check bill that is enormously popular with the public, and similar to the Toomey-Manchin bill that came up for a vote immediately after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.

It also failed, getting only 44 votes.

Then came Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley‘s bill, which would have increased funding for the background check system. It also would have pushed the states to send more records to the FBI of felons and others barred from buying guns. It also would have changed the language prohibiting some people with mental health issues from buying a gun (which Democrats objected to).

It too, went down to defeat, getting only 53 votes.

After the bills all went down to defeat, Florida Senator Bill Nelson said, “What am I going to tell 49 grieving families? What am I going to tell the families of those that are still in the hospital fighting for their lives? What am I going to tell the trauma surgeon whose bloodstained shoes have been shown in a picture on so many news programs and who said he didn’t know, in the midst of the screams and the cries, if they were black or white, or gay or straight, as they brought in over 40, all at one time, into that trauma operating room? What am I going to tell the community of Orlando that is trying to come together in the healing?  Sadly, what I am going to have to tell them is that the NRA won again.”

All hopes now for anything to come out of the Senate post-Orlando is a proposal by Maine’s Susan Collins. Her proposal would block the sale of guns to people on two terrorist watch list subsets: the no-fly list, which prohibits individuals from boarding a plane, and the “selectee list,” which requires individuals to undergo additional screening before boarding. The measure would also include a provision to notify the FBI if anyone who had been on either of the lists within the previous five years purchases a gun. And it would also “provide due process by allowing an individual to appeal a decision blocking his or her purchase of a firearm, and, if successful, to be awarded attorney’s fees,” according to a spokesperson for Collins.

We’ll know more about Collins bill’s chances in the next few days.

In other news …

While Marco Rubio ponders his future, Carlos Beruff is shooting off verbal bombs at the presumptive U.S. Senate favorite IF he gets into the race.

Two new polls that were released on Monday show that the David Jolly-Charlie Crist matchup should be a doozy. A PPP survey shows Crist up by only 3 points in the allegedly heavily Democratic-friendly seat. Another pollster who works with Republicans shows Jolly up by 12 points in the district.

President Obama got busy endorsing Florida Democrats on Monday, bestowing his imprimatur on the candidacies of Crist and Patrick Murphy.

Despite the odds, the Florida League of Women Voters wants state leaders to call for a special session of the Legislature by the end of this month to ban assault weapons and create more robust background gun checks in Florida.

Frank Reddick endorses Republican Shawn Harrison over his Democratic colleague Lisa Montelione in the HD 63 this fall.

Speaking of Montelione, a date has been established for the special election to succeed her in the Tampa City Council.

Dianne Hart gets an endorsement from the Florida Retail Federation in the HD 61 seat.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at

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