Plans to tighten gun controls in the US, including the restriction of weapons sales to people on terrorism watch lists have been rejected by the Senate.
Four proposals were brought before the Senate after 49 people were shot dead in Orlando attack on June 12.
However, Democratic and Republican senators voted along party lines, blocking each other’s bills.
Senators strongly disagreed about how to prevent more attacks happening in future.
Republican Senator John Cornyn said: “Our colleagues want to make this about gun control when what we should be making this about is the fight to eliminate the Islamic extremism that is the root cause for what happened in Orlando.
“My colleagues in many ways want to treat the symptoms without fighting the disease.”
Photo NBC News
Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski said: “Why is it we would go through such incredible scrutiny to board an airplane to protect me against terrorist, and yet we have no scrutiny of the people on the terrorist watch list to be able to buy a gun?”
Republicans and members of the National Rifle Association (NRA) complained that the bills put forward by the Democrats violated the constitutional right to bear arms. They are concerned that without enough “due process”, law-abiding Americans wrongly named on watch lists would be prevented from buying weapons.
Democrats said the Republican proposals were too weak.
Eight days before the Senate’s vote on June 20, Omar Mateen shot 49 people dead and injured many more in the worst mass shooting in recent US history.
Omar Mateen was a US citizen who had been known to the FBI since 2013 but was not on a terrorism watch list.
In the US, gun dealers are licensed by the federal government. People can be prevented from buying weapons if they have mental health problems or are guilty of serious crimes, but there is no specific prohibition for those on the terrorism watch list. There are currently about one million people on that list.
There are other ways to buy guns – at gun shows, or from a private vendor online – that do not require any background checks.
The Senate voted down legislation that would have closed a gun show loophole and expanded background checks to cover private sales.
It also rejected a bill to ban suspects on terrorism watch lists from buying guns, a bill (backed by the NRA) that would allow the US attorney general to delay a gun purchase by a known or suspected terrorist, but prosecutors would need to convince a judge of the would-be-buyer’s connection to terrorism within three days and a bill that would alert the FBI to terrorism suspects who have purchased a gun, without blocking the purchase outright.
President Barack Obama has attacked the Muslim ban proposed by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump saying that is “not the America we want”.
Treating Muslim-Americans differently will only make the US less safe by increasing division between the West and the Muslim world, Barack Obama said.
On June 13, Donald Trump extended his ban plan to people from all countries with a terror history against the US.
The New York billionaire said the deadly Orlando nightclub shootings justified such action.
Forty-nine people were killed when Omar Mateen, a US national with Afghan parents, opened fire in a gay club on June 12.
Donald Trump said his proposal could be implemented through unilateral executive action, given the president’s power to “suspend entry into the country of any class of persons that the president deems detrimental to the interests or security of the United States”.
On June 14, at the US Treasury in Washington, a visibly angry Barack Obama launched his strongest assault yet on Donald Trump who is expected to be confirmed as the Republican nominee next month.
Barack Obama said the US had been founded on freedom of religion and having a “religious test” would be against the US Constitution.
The president also noted that recent terror attacks in the US had been carried out by people born in the US.
Omar Mateen, 29, was born in the same New York neighborhood as Donald Trump.
Barack Obama also urged the US to reinstate the ban on assault weapons.
He dismissed Donald Trump’s suggestion that he resign because he refuses to use the word “radical Islamic terrorism”.
“If we fall into the trap of painting all Muslims with a broad brush and imply that we are at war with an entire religion, then we are doing the terrorists’ work for them,” he said.
PresidentObama will visit the scene of the carnage in Orlando on June 16.
Noor Zahi Salman, wife of Orlando gunman Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people at a gay nightclub, could face charges in connection with the attack, according to reports.
Prosecutors have convened a grand jury to investigate Noor Salman, sources quoted by Fox News and Reuters say.
Noor Salman is reported to have told police she tried to talk her husband out of attacking the Pulse nightclub.
Orlando attack was the worst mass shooting in recent US history.
Fifty-three people were wounded and six remain in a critical condition.
Prosecutors quoted by Fox News said they were seeking to charge Noor Salman as an accessory to 49 counts of murder and 53 counts of attempted murder, as well as with failure to warn authorities about the impending attack.
It was possible that Omar Mateen had called his wife from inside the club while the killings were taking place, Fox quoted a source as saying.
Although Noor Salman has been questioned since the attack on June 12, she has not been arrested.
Senator Angus King, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee which received a briefing on the investigation, told CNN that “it appears she had some knowledge of what was going on”.
He said: “She definitely is, I guess you would say, a person of interest right now and appears to be co-operating and can provide us with some important information.”
On June 14, media reported that Noor Salman had gone with Omar Mateen to buy ammunition and had also driven him to the Pulse nightclub on a previous occasion because he had wanted to survey it.
However, Noor Salman said she had tried to talk her husband out of carrying out the attack, sources quoted by NBC News said.
Omar Mateen’s father, Seddique Mateen, said on June 14 that Noor Salman – his son’s second wife – had returned to the couple’s flat on June 13 to pick up some clothes. He said she and the couple’s young son were still in Florida but declined to say where.
Omar Mateen, 29, who was killed when police stormed the club, pledged allegiance to ISIS during the attack, authorities say.
The FBI is investigating reports that Omar Mateen made several visits to the Pulse nightclub and made contact with other men on gay dating apps.
On June 14, President Barack Obama said Mateen appeared to have been “an angry, disturbed, unstable young man who became radicalized”.
The president also attacked a proposed ban on Muslims traveling to America from Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump as “not the America we want”.
Investigators have said there is no evidence that Omar Mateen had been in contact with any outside groups such as ISIS.
Omar Mateen was a US citizen, born in New York to Afghan immigrant parents.
Barack Obama will travel to the scene of the attack in Orlando on June 16.
Fifty people have been killed in a shooting in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, the city’s mayor Buddy Dyer has said.
Omar Mateen, who was named as the attacker by officials, was killed after taking hostages at the Pulse club.
President Barack Obama said Americans were united in grief, outrage and “resolve to defend our people” after “an act of terror and an act of hate”.
The Orlando attack is the worst mass shooting in recent US history.
A nationwide moment of silence will be held at 18:00 local time.
According to officials, the killings were likely to be ideologically motivated, though there was no information that the gunman was associated with a particular group.
However, Congressman Alan Grayson said it was “no coincidence” the attack happened in a gay club.
“It may be we’ve seen the commission of an awful hate crime,” he added.
Omar Mateen’s father Mir Seddique told NBC News that the incident had nothing to do with religion, and may have been triggered by the sight of a gay couple kissing in Miami.
However, NBC News reported that Omar Mateen called the emergency services before the attack and swore allegiance to ISIS.
The group later said – via its affiliated Amaq news agency – that an ISIS “fighter” had carried out the attack.
The claim did not specify whether ISIS was directly involved or simply taking credit for inspiring the attack.
President Obama described the attack as “the brutal murder of dozens of innocent people”.
“It was an act of terror and an act of hate,” the president said, adding that it was a heartbreaking day for the LGBT community.
An attack on any American was an attack on all, Barack Obama added.
“We are united in grief, in outrage and resolve to defend our people.”
Barack Obama has ordered flags on federal buildings to be flown at half mast until sunset on June 16.
The suspect, who was a US citizen from the Florida town of Port St Lucie and was of Afghan descent, was not on a terrorism watch list.
However, officials revealed that the FBI had twice interviewed Omar Mateen in 2013-2014 after he made “inflammatory remarks” to a colleague. But the investigation was closed.
The death toll of 50 given by Mayor Buddy Dyer means that the Orlando attack surpasses the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech which left 32 people dead.
Another 53 people were injured in the shooting.
Security has also been boosted for the last day of the Capital Pride LGBT festival in Washington DC, which included a moment of silence for the Orlando victims at 13:00 local time, the Washington Post reported.
A gay pride parade has also been taking place in West Hollywood, Los Angeles.
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