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US Senate to vote on gun control measures today




A measure from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) would allow the attorney general to deny sales of firearms to suspected terrorists.
A measure from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) would allow the attorney general to deny sales of firearms to suspected terrorists.
JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

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The U.S. Senate is set to vote today on four proposed gun control measures, including one from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) that would prevent suspected terrorists from buying guns.

The votes were scheduled after a filibuster by Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), who held the Senate floor for 15 hours last week on the heels of the mass shooting in Orlando— the deadliest in U.S. history.

Variations of the four proposals have all come up for a vote and failed before. Could things be different this time around?

POLITICO Congressional reporter Burgess Everett joined Take Two to discuss.

Interview highlights:

What are the measures up for a vote today and what are their chances?

We have what we call in Congressional parlance 'side-by-sides,' where each party has a proposal that's supposed to be pitted against the other one. There's one on universal background checks from Chris Murphy. It's similar to a bill in 2013 written by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA)... this measure is a little bit more broad and doesn't contain as much stuff as friendly to gun owners, so Toomey will not be voting for it, so that's going to be mostly partisan vote, that will fail. There's also a Republican background checks proposal that focuses more on mental health. That's seen as a fig leaf by Democrats, that will fail.

And then a lot of attention will be on this terrorist watch list legislation. Each party has a proposal to keep terrorists from buying firearms. The Feinstein proposal would put the Attorney General mostly in charge of that process, while Sen. John Cornyn of Texas has a Republican proposal that would turn that over mostly to the courts. Democrats say that would not prevent enough of these sales, and Republicans say Feinstein's proposal does not protect the Second Amendment enough, so you can kind of see where this is going. We expect all four of these votes to fail.

Is there any chance that Senators could work out a compromise measure?

There were some talks across the party leadership last week, but those kind of fell apart on a compromise, and that's why you're seeing these sort of re-do votes today. But there's a Maine Senator Susan Collins, and a group of non-leadership, mostly Republicans, but there are a couple of Democrats involved... Mostly these moderate deal-making types of lawmakers are working on something apart from the leadership that would essentially have a smaller list of suspected terrorists that would be totally blocked from buying firearms, and a larger list that would have included Omar Mateen, the shooter in Orlando, that would ping the FBI if this person got a gun.

Her idea, we don't even know if it would get a vote yet, but her idea is that the Senate needs to use this opportunity and this debate to actually pass something. I haven't seen evidence that that's where the Senate is going, but there still is some hope that we could get 60 votes to pass something here this week on terrorism.

To hear the full interview, click the blue player above.