Politics & Government

Pa. legislators unsatisfied with gun gridlock

Sen. Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., center, walks towards the Senate on Capitol Hill Monday in Washington. A divided Senate hurtled Monday toward an election-year stalemate over curbing guns, eight days after Orlando’s mass shooting horror intensified pressure on lawmakers to act but left them gridlocked anyway, even over restricting firearms for terrorists.
Sen. Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., center, walks towards the Senate on Capitol Hill Monday in Washington. A divided Senate hurtled Monday toward an election-year stalemate over curbing guns, eight days after Orlando’s mass shooting horror intensified pressure on lawmakers to act but left them gridlocked anyway, even over restricting firearms for terrorists. The Associated Press

In Monday’s divided Senate vote on gun restriction laws, Pennsylvania legislators were unsatisfied with the outcome: more gridlock.

Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., said with its failure to pass basic gun laws, the Senate was defaulting on its basic obligation to keep the country safe.

Casey promised to continue to push for bans on military-style weapons, limits on magazine and clip sizes and universal background checks. He also advocated to ban those on the terror watch list and those who have committed violent misdemeanor hate crimes from purchasing firearms.

“We’re a nation of people who have always sought solutions to difficult challenges,” he said. “The scourge of gun violence should be no different.”

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said he had hoped to find common ground to “keep guns out of the hands of terrorists while protecting Second Amendment rights for law-abiding citizens.”

Toomey said Monday’s voting was not a step toward achieving that “sensible middle ground.” Instead, he said the votes were “designed to fail,” saying they maximized partisan differences.

“When I first dove into the gun safety effort after the Sandy Hook shootings, I worked across party lines, since that was the only way to get something done,” Toomey said. “Today, bipartisanship is needed more than ever on this issue that cries out for action. Today, we did not get that.”

Katie McGinty, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate and Toomey’s opponent, weighed in on Toomey’s statements, calling the senator out for voting against a bill that makes it harder for suspected terrorists to buy weapons.

“Today was our chance to find out which members of the Senate are serious about actually doing something to stop gun violence and which members aren’t,” McGinty said. “Pat Toomey’s votes today show that he is long on rhetoric but short on action.”

Cate Hansberry: 814-235-3933, @catehans216

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