- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Republicans are plotting ways to head off more protests by Democrats on the House floor, but insisted Tuesday they won’t cave and allow votes on anti-gun proposals that GOP lawmakers say are unconstitutional.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan said he didn’t want to reward Democrats’ disruptive behavior after they occupied the House floor two weeks ago in a 1960s-style sit-in, demanding a vote on their gun control plans.

At issue is a post-Orlando massacre push to block those on the government’s secret watchlists from being able to buy a gun, even when no court has ruled against the suspect.

“The last thing we’re going to do is surrender the floor over to these kinds of tactics, when we know it’s going to compromise the basic constitutional rights of citizens,” Mr. Ryan told WTMJ radio host Charlie Sykes in Wisconsin.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, meanwhile, said Democrats broke House rules by using their cell phone cameras to broadcast their sit-in, and he is investigating reports that some Democrats damaged House furniture or acted rudely toward floor staff.

“That behavior can’t be tolerated,” the California Republican said.

Democrats were undeterred by the criticism, and renewed their demand for a vote on what they call the “no fly, no buy” bill — though they avoided a repeat of their June sit-in. Instead they stuck to traditional floor speeches, and planned a rally Wednesday with survivors of gun violence.

Democrats initially wanted to deny gun purchases to the 1 million people who appear on any of three FBI watch lists: the no-fly list, the heightened passenger scrutiny list, and a much broader investigative list.

None of those is overseen by a court, however, and Republicans said denying a gun based only on the FBI’s say-so violates the Constitution’s guarantees of due process.

GOP leaders have responded with legislation written by Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, that would grant the attorney general the power to delay gun sales for up to three days for anyone suspected of terrorist connections.

Authorities would then have to go to court and prove their case, or else the sale would go through.

Mr. Ryan said the proposal would make Americans safer while adhering to the Constitution. Democrats, though, blasted it as “toothless.”

“Ninety one people die each day from gun violence in this country and the best Speaker Ryan can muster is a meaningless bill written by the NRA,” said Drew Hamill, spokesman for Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat. “The American people are demanding action and the least Speaker Ryan can do is get out of the way.”

Democrats are now rallying around a bipartisan plan sponsored by Sen. Susan Collins, Maine Republican, that would apply to slightly more than 100,000 names on the no-fly and heightened scrutiny lists.

Ms. Collins and her supporters say her plan would offer an avenue for those denied a sale to appeal the decision in a federal court, and to recover attorneys’ fees if they prevail. They argue it’s a middle path between the extremes that have dominated the gun debate in the wake of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.

Her proposal earned 52 votes in the Senate last month, just short of the 53 votes garnered by Mr. Cornyn’s bill. Both proposals though fell short of the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster.

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