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Gun control locks up Senate

Dateline: 05/17/00

All lawmaking in the U.S. Senate came to a grinding halt yesterday as a surprise battle over long-pending gun control legislation flared up.

It started when Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle (South Dakota) offered a "sense of the Senate" resolution praising the participants in Sunday's Million Moms March and calling for consideration of the juvenile justice bill.

This bill, which includes new gun control regulations including requiring trigger locks and buyer background checks at gun shows, has been before a joint House-Senate conference committee since last summer.

While Rep. Daschle's "sense of the Senate" resolution would not change any laws, it would require Senators to go on record indicating how they might vote on an actual gun control bill.

Senate Republicans objected to Daschle's action and the resulting quorum call prevented the Senate from taking on further business for the rest of the day.

Daschle responded by indicating the Senate Democrats would continue the quorum call until the Republican leadership allowed a vote on his resolution.

"We will not do anything else," Tom Daschle told the Senate, as he launched the procedural battle of wills. "Maybe the silence will get the message through."

In a CNN story, Daschle is reported as saying Senate Democrats will go to the floor every day and read the names of Americans who died in acts of gun violence one year ago that very day.

This tactic threatens to delay consideration of the Senate's version of the fiscal year 2001 appropriations bill for military construction. This typically non-controversial bill is expected to see extended debate this year over a provision requiring U.S. combat troops be pulled out of the Kosovo by July 1, 2001. 

What's your opinion?

Can a Million Moms Be Wrong?
New Online discussion group  on gun control and the Million Moms march and movement.

Why is there a legal right to carry guns?
A long-standing and very active discussion group on gun control and gun owners' rights and responsibilities.

A Quorum Call in the Senate is most often used as sort of a "time out," to allow senators to hold private conversations on pending business. It is a typical way of suspending or delaying a debate without actually adjourning the Senate.

Whenever a senator suggests that a quorum (51 senators) may not be present on the floor by saying, "I suggest the absence of a quorum," the Senate clerk starts to slowly call the roll of senators. The quorum call is ended when at least 51 senators are present, or when a senator says, "I ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with."

In general practice, the Senate often conducts business without a quorum present, but the Senate presumes that a quorum is present unless the contrary is shown by a roll call vote or quorum call.

Reference Links

Senate Democrats bring chamber to a halt over resolution on gun control
CNN report - May 16, 2000: "Senate Democrats made good Tuesday on their threat to bring the Senate to a halt unless they are granted an opportunity to vote on legislation containing gun control measures."

National Rifle Association - Legislation Updates
The leading gun owner advocacy group. Opposed to new gun control laws.

Handgun Control and The Center to Prevent Handgun Violence
Organization working for stricter gun control laws.

Gun Laws, Gun Control and Gun Rights 
Covers the legal issues of gun control. From JURIST: The Law Professors' Network.

Gun Control vs. Gun Rights: The Issue 
Report on the gun debate and campaign money, from the Center for Responsive Politics.

House Agrees to Consider Gun Control
After demands by President Clinton, the House is scheduled to consider a bill controlling sales at gun shows, requiring trigger locks and other regulations. From your About.com Guide.

Targeting Guns
President Clinton proposes new gun legislation, from your About.com Guide to Broadcast News Tim Hosfeldt.

Canadian gun control challenged in Supreme Court
Canada's gun control law faces a Supreme Court challenge from gun control opponents. From Canada Online Guide Susan Munroe.

Liberal Views on Gun Control
How the political left views the gun control issue. From About.com Guide Karen O'Brien.

Gun Rights: Advocacy and Commentary
The very best in links about advocacy and commentary on gun rights, from your About.com Guide to Civil Liberties J.D. Tuccille.

Guns & Gun Crimes
Related links from one of the most interesting sites on the Web, Guide Bill Bickel's Crime and Punishment.

Kids and Guns - Kids' Exchange
Do you have a gun in our home? Do you feel safer or less safe? Kids and Guns from your About.com Guide 


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