Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand told Long Island business leaders on Friday that Congress’ failure to agree on any form of gun control measure has become “the most disappointing part of my job.”
Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who had come to the Long Island Association meeting in Melville to pitch a national version of paid family leave, used a gun-related question by association president Kevin Law to vent her frustration on the issue.
“It is unconscionable that this is not an issue we can come together and do sensible things,” she said.
Gillibrand’s appearance came less than two weeks after a gunman who claimed allegiance to ISIS killed 49 people and wounded dozens of others inside an Orlando, Fla., nightclub.
The attack prompted Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) to lead a 15-hour filibuster last week to force Senate votes on gun control bills. Competing bills from Senate Republicans and Democrats were aimed at stopping suspected terrorists from buying guns each failed Monday.
A 25-hour “sit-in” Wednesday and Thursday by House Democrats to demand gun control votes in that chamber also ended without immediate success.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said Democratic proposals were intended as distractions to the failure of President Barack Obama to defeat ISIS overseas.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said banning gun sales to people on terrorist watch and no-fly lists would deprive them of their constitutional right without due process.
Gillibrand said Friday that “constitutional rights are abrogated all the time,” citing free speech restrictions on inciting public riots.
“Why the 2nd Amendment is the only right that can’t be abrogated — for a really good reason, for a suspected terrorist — is really absurd,” Gillibrand said. “It’s a false argument. We can protect our constitutional rights, but we should do it appropriately.”
The National Rifle Association has backed a GOP bill that would trigger a 72-hour delay on a firearm purchase by someone on the terror watch list, but would require the government to show probable cause and get a court to order to stop the sale.
Gillibrand said the NRA primarily cares about “gun profits,” and noted that some polls have shown that even a majority of NRA members back certain gun control measures.
“Congress lives in a bubble. They are not in the real world,” she said. “They have no clue even what their constituents want.”