Durbin: Knife and Bomb Attacks 'Sad Reminders' of Need for Gun-Control Bills

Durbin: Knife and Bomb Attacks 'Sad Reminders' of Need for Gun-Control Bills
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON — The Senate minority whip told reporters on Capitol Hill today that the Minnesota mall stabbings and the New York/New Jersey bombings were “sad reminders that this Congress has done nothing — nothing to prevent dangerous people from acquiring guns and explosives to carry out future attacks on Americans.”

Outside of a closed policy luncheon, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Republicans “have seen multiple opportunities come and go to bring forward and pass bipartisan legislation to prevent terrorists from buying firearms and explosives, closing the so-called terror gap loophole.”

“All of which have been defeated by the Republican majority. Congress still spends so much time and energy debating whether a bill would’ve stopped the last attack that we lose sight on how we stop the next attack,” Durbin said. “This bill, as well as bipartisan background checks, will stop dangerous people from getting their hands on the weapons of war.”

The Washington Post reported that federal officials said the bombs were constructed of unregulated, commonly available materials such as Tannerite, black powder, Christmas-light fuses, and cell phone detonators.

Bills from Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) to allow the attorney general to block or delay the sale of firearms to people on the no-fly list have not received enough support to advance.

Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) blasted GOPs in a Monday floor speech, saying “the only reason FBI terror suspects are allowed to buy guns and explosives is Republican opposition.”

Today, Senate Dem leaders were also ripping their Republican colleagues for the upcoming campaign recess. Oct. 7 is the last day the Senate is scheduled to be in session before Election Day.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Republicans were “like school kids, begging for an early recess.”

“Republicans would rather be out asking for people’s votes than doing the people’s business. This year, the Senate is scheduled to work the fewest days in six decades, but even that workload is apparently too heavy for our Republican friends,” Schumer told reporters. “We’ve been scheduled to be in session for two more weeks, but Republicans want to pull the plug and head home as soon as possible. That is not — not what the American people sent us here to do.”

“This Republican-led Senate is — has already worked fewer days than any time since 1956, and with their mad rush to get home again, they’ll even break that record. We don’t know how far to go back. Maybe we’ll go back to the Depression years. Maybe we’ll go back to World War I,” Reid said.

Outside the GOP luncheon, Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) said the weekend’s events “were a reminder, a grim reminder, that we continue to fight the war against terrorism, the war against ISIS.”

“And incredibly, in the wake of all that, the administration, the president’s spokesperson Josh Earnest, came out in the last couple of days and said that we are in a narrative fight against ISIS; not a real fight, a narrative fight,” Thune said. “And Tim Kaine went on television on Sunday and said that the situation with ISIS has dramatically improved. And I think that it’s pretty clear that the administration is more concerned about their legacy than they are really about keeping Americans safe.”

“The fact of the matter is the world is less safe since the president took office. And Americans’ security, as we found out over the weekend, continues to be threatened on a weekly basis. So we’re less safe, and I think most Americans would argue less prosperous.”