Breakdown: How Colorado’s Bennet and Gardner voted on this week’s failed gun measures

Benedict Benedict

In the aftermath of last week’s massacre in Orlando, efforts in the U.S. Senate to pass a series of measures tightening up gun legislation were unsuccessful. Here’s how Colorado’s senators voted.

Democrat Michael Bennet and Republican Cory Gardner found themselves on the same side on only one of the four gun-related amendments brought to a vote, according to tallies of votes cast.

They both voted No on an amendment by Republican U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley that would increase funding for background checks but not make those checks mandatory.

Bennet opposed the measure, his spokesman Adam Bozzi told The Colorado Independent, because it would have rolled back certain gun safety measures to make it easier for people with mental illness to buy guns. The Independent reached out to both offices Tuesday afternoon. A Gardner spokesperson had not returned an e-mail or phone messages before this story was posted.

Here’s how Bennet and Gardner voted on the other three measures, according to a breakdown of all the votes by Slate:

On an amendment by California Democratic U.S. Dianne Feinstein to allow the attorney general to bar firearms and explosives from suspected terrorists, Bennet voted Yes, Gardner voted No. Bennet supported the amendment because he want to block terrorists from buying guns, a spokesman said.

On an amendment by Republican John Cornyn that, according to Slate and The Washington Post, would allow the government to delay firearm sales to suspected terrorists “only if [the attorney general] could prove to a judge within three business days of the attempted sale there was probable cause to suspect the buyer of ties to terrorism,” Bennet voted No, and Gardner voted Yes. Bennet opposed the amendment “because its due process provisions were unworkable and would not effectively block terrorists from buying guns,” a spokesman said.

On a Democratic amendment by Connecticut U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy that The Post said would “expand background checks for anyone trying to purchase a firearm at a gun show or online,” Bennet voted Yes, and Gardner voted No. The amendment, a Bennet spokesman said, was identical to Colorado law, and Bennet “supports background checks to prevent criminals from buying guns.”

These votes on the four amendments— two from Democrats and two from Republicans— came to the floor following a 15-hour filibuster by Democrats, including Bennet (watch his floor speech here), that was aimed at urging Republican leadership to allow votes on gun measures. The votes came Monday, and none of them succeeded in reaching the 60 percent necessary to pass.

In a statement posted on his congressional website, Gardner said his only Yes vote was because he wants to “enhance communication and coordination among state, local, and federal officials to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons, but also ensure due process and protect the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners.”

Bennet said in a statement he lamented congressional gridlock and “Congress could not take commonsense steps to block terrorists from buying guns or to establish background checks like we have in Colorado that help keep guns out of the hands of criminals.”

[Photo credit: Benedict Benedict via Creative Commons in Flickr]


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