Durbin Says Congressional Inaction on Gun Safety is an Outrage and Must End

Proposed Reforms to Address Threat of Terrorist Shootings Will Help Address Daily Gun Violence in Chicago

CHICAGO – In response to the worst mass shooting in U.S. history and the ongoing gun violence that plagues Chicago, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today called for Congressional action on gun safety reform. The Senate is expected to vote on several gun amendments introduced by Senate democrats next week, including legislation to prevent suspected terrorists from purchasing firearms and strengthen background checks for gun shows and online purchases. So far this year more than 1,700 people in Chicago have been shot, and around 280 people have been killed by gunfire.

“What happened in Orlando is heartbreaking, as is what has been happening in Chicago on a daily basis. Common sense dictates that Congress listen to the pleas across America to stop this gun violence. I was proud to join Senator Chris Murphy and 37 other Democratic Senators in holding the Senate floor until the Republican majority agreed to schedule votes on gun safety reform,” Durbin said. “The reforms that we are pushing to address the threat of terrorist shootings will also help us address the daily gun violence here in Chicago. Weak gun laws at the federal level and in neighboring states make it too easy for guns to end up in dangerous hands here. On Monday, we will have a chance to vote to change those laws, and I hope we have the guts to stand up as a Congress and do what’s right.”

On Monday, the Senate will vote on two amendments Senator Durbin supports. The first, introduced by Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA), would close the “terror gap” that allows known or suspected terrorists buy guns. This legislation would allow the FBI block a gun sale if there is a reasonable suspicion that the buyer is engaged in terrorist activities. While the FBI is notified when individuals on the terrorist watch list apply for a background check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, it does not currently have the authority to block the sale.


The gunman in last Sunday’s shooting in Orlando had been investigated multiple times by the FBI for possible terrorist connections, but he was able to purchase an assault rifle and a handgun a week before he used them to kill 49 and wound 53.


The Senate will also vote on an amendment introduced by Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) to close gaps that let people buy guns from unlicensed sellers at gun shows and over the internet ‎without a background check. The amendment would close loopholes in our background check system and prevent felons, the mentally unstable, and suspected terrorists from buying a gun without a background check.


Nearly 90 percent of Americans agree that a background check should be conducted before a gun is sold. The background check system has blocked more than 2 million gun sales to prohibited purchasers over the years, but loopholes still allow many sales to take place without background checks, especially at gun shows and over the internet. In 2015 Senator Durbin was informed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that approximately 40 percent of the crime guns confiscated in crimes in the most violent neighborhoods of Chicago were coming from gun shows in northern Indiana, just across the border from Chicago.


Last year Chicago had nearly 3,000 shooting victims and 488 homicides- the most of any city in America.