Republican House Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said he is opposed to terrorists having access to guns and would explore legislation to prevent that from happening.
"Nobody wants terrorists to have firearms," said McConnell on June 14, according to Reuters. The comments came two days after the Orlando, Florida, nightclub shooting, in which Omar Mateen killed 49 people with a Sig Sauer MCX, a weapon originally designed for the U.S. military that's "as quiet as an MP5, as deadly as an AK-47," according to TheTruthAboutGuns.com. Mateen had previously been put on a terrorist watch list by the FBI for alleged links to known terrorists, but no wrongdoing was found and he was eventually taken off the list.
But the fact that he had been on the list has many Democrats criticizing Republicans for opposing legislation in 2015 that would have banned people on the FBI's suspected terrorist list from purchasing firearms.
Democratic Sen. Christopher Murphy of Connecticut to led a 15-hour filibuster on June 15 to force a vote on the matter.
“When we don’t act there is a quiet signal that is sent to people whose minds are becoming unhinged,” Murphy said, according to the New York Times. “Almost every one of us has had a conversation with a family member who lost a son or daughter to gun violence.”
McConnell eventually agreed to hold votes on two gun control amendments but accused Democrats of trying to score political points when they could support Republican Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas' legislation to create a 72-hour investigation period if a suspected terrorist tries to buy a gun, according to Morning Consult.
“Of course no one wants terrorists to be able to buy guns,” McConnell said, “So if Democrats are actually serious about getting a solution on that issue, not just making a political talking point, they’ll join with us to support Sen. Cornyn’s SHIELD Act.”