US Senate debates gun control after California shooting

Updated: 2015-12-04 09:55


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US Senate debates gun control after California shooting

Teresa Hernandez (right) and Monique Gutierrez hug at the Rudy Hernandez Community Center as they wait for a relative, who was not injured, after the shooting rampage. [Photo/Agencies]

WASHINGTON - One day after a mass shooting in California that killed 14 people and wounded 21, Republicans and Democrats in the US Senate jousted on Thursday over gun control but again failed to advance legislation addressing the violence.

Democrats tried to expand background checks to those purchasing weapons at gun shows and through intrastate Internet transactions. They also proposed closing a loophole allowing

people on "terror watch lists" to buy guns and explosives.

Both efforts failed in the face of heavy Republican opposition.

Republicans said the government could mistakenly place innocent people on watch lists, denying them their constitutional rights to purchase guns. The influential National Rifle Association has also advanced that argument.

Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn failed to win an alternative putting gun sales on hold for 72 hours for people on watch lists. Critics have said such background checks could take longer to complete.

The FBI is trying to determine whether a couple suspected of the shootings at a workplace in Southern California on Wednesday had links to Islamic militant groups.

In a news conference before the votes, Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal said: "Congress is complicit in these mass murders when it fails to act."

Blumenthal's home state of Connecticut was the scene of a mass shooting three years ago when a 20-year-old gunman entered an elementary school and killed 20 children and six employees.

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