South Carolina’s two senators kept in line with the rest of the GOP during a series of Monday votes on gun control measures in response to the Orlando nightclub shootings.
Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott voted in favor of cloture for two Republican proposals and against a pair of Democratic ones. All four bills failed to reach the required 60 votes.
The two Republicans opposed the Democratic bills that would have expanded background checks for gun purchases to include private and internet sales and banning gun sales to individuals on the terrorist watch and “no fly” lists. Democratic senators, meanwhile, moved to block more moderate GOP versions that would have provided increased funding for background checks and only block gun sales for those on watch lists if a judge found probable cause.
Scott said even citizens on the “no fly” and terror watch lists should have due process rights. “Since their creation after 9/11, multiple law abiding people have been mistakenly placed on the terror watch list and no-fly lists, and it has taken years in court to have their names removed,” he said in a statement explaining his votes.
Graham did not release any public statement, but had earlier said he supports preventing those on the no fly list from buying a gun so long as they could appeal. “If you’re on a no-fly list, if you’ve been selected for extra screening because of your behavior, you present a danger or a threat, then I don’t think you should be able to buy a gun,” Graham said on CNN last week. “But you should have a way to challenge the government’s accusation against you.”
The party-line votes had been expected even before senators went into session Monday. But South Carolina Democrats still expressed their displeasure at the two Republican senators.
“I am deeply disappointed that our two Republican senators continue to put South Carolinians’ lives at needless risk by refusing to support eminently sensible gun safety measures,” SC Democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison said. “Our state is all too familiar with the horrors of gun violence, and the vast majority of our citizens support taking steps consistent with the Second Amendment that would significantly reduce the scourge.”
Graham is part of a bipartisan group that is backing a bill by US Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-NH, which would bar gun sales for those on no fly lists, but not terror watch lists. However, he still indicated he would want the ability for those on the lists to legally challenge their status if they were mistakenly included.