For the good of the nation, the U.S. Senate must find common ground on reasonable gun control. On Monday, two Democratic bills were defeated, as were two Republican ones. But there were enough votes on both sides of the aisle from senators who want action of some kind.
One bill put forward by Democrats would have required background checks for sales online and at gun shows. Another would have banned anyone on the terrorist watch list from buying guns. Republicans proposed increased funding for background checks, but would not widen their use. And another GOP measure would have given the federal government 72 hours to show probable cause why it should stop a gun sale to someone on the terrorist watch list.
The Democratic bills would have been a significant improvement. The GOP bills would have been a very small improvement, but the fact that they were proposed shows movement in this debate after the fatal shootings of 49 clubgoers in Orlando. Americans overwhelmingly support background checks and blocks on gun sales to suspected terrorists. And the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a challenge to state bans, such as New York’s, on assault weapons like the one used in Orlando.
Now that the show votes are over, it’s time to do the hard work of compromise. A bipartisan group of moderate senators led by Maine Republican Susan Collins unveiled a bill Tuesday that might garner the 60 votes needed to pass. It would ban gun sales to people on the no-fly list and a “secondary security screening selectee” list, which is much shorter than the terrorist watch list, and create an appeals process for them. That would be a law no responsible politician should oppose, and perhaps, the single step with which all great journeys begin. — The editorial board