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Senators Cochran, Wicker, vote for strengthening background checks for gun purchases

WASHINGTON– U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss) and U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss) both voted for gun control measures Monday that would keep guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens and away from potential threats.

Both senators supported an amendment to improve the National Criminal Instant Background Check System (NICS) that would have included information about terrorist links and mental competency.

Senator Thad Cochran said changes need to happen, but not at expense of those following the law.

“Congress can take responsible action to strengthen the enforcement and prosecution of our nation’s laws without infringing on the rights of law-abiding citizens,” said Cochran. “The amendments I supported would improve coordination among law enforcement, the Justice Department, and the courts to stop terrorists from killing innocent American citizens.”

In addition to that amendment, Senator Roger Wicker also supported an amendment that would require law enforcement to be immediately notified when a person has been investigated for terrorism in the past five years attempts to buy a firearm or explosive. A three-day delay period would be enacted that would allow for officers to investigate the person in order to block the sale and, if needed, arrest the suspect.

“Suspected terrorists should not have access to firearms–period,” said Wicker. “No one is arguing that point. Rather than using the recent terrorist attack in Orlando for political gain, the goal should be to give law enforcement the tools they need to monitor, investigate, and detain terrorists. I believe this can be achieved while protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.”

Two more amendments were suggested on the Senate floor by Democrats. The first would expand background check requirements to cover nearly every sale–including those conducted privately, such as between family members. The second would give the attorney general circumstantial authority to deny a sale without judicial process.

All four amendments suggested died because they failed to reach the 60 required votes to pass.

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