(KMSP) - A nearly 14-hour filibuster on the Senate floor came to a close early Thursday with both Minnesota senators backing leader Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy and his pledge for legislative action after the deadly mass shooting in Florida.
Murphy cited the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting as a major call to action in his state.
"For those of us that represent Connecticut, the failure of this body to do anything, anything at all in the face of that continued slaughter isn't just painful to us, it's unconscionable," Murphy said.
RECAP - 14-hour filibuster on gun control
Murphy said he's seeking a vote on legislation from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif, which would let the government ban sales of guns and explosives to people it suspects of being terrorists. Addressing Murphy, Minnesota Sen. Al Franken cited a newly-released U.S. Government Accountability Office report requested by Feinstein, which provided updated data on background checks involving terrorist watchlist records.
According to the report, in 2015, the FBI’s data demonstrate that individuals on the terrorist watchlist were involved in firearm related background checks 244 times. Of those 244 times, 233 of the transactions were allowed to proceed and only 21 were denied, meaning potential terrorists were permitted to buy guns 91 percent of the time in 2015.
"Further, GAO provides that since the FBI began checking background checks against terrorist watchlist records in 2004, individuals on such watchlists were permitted to purchase weapons 2,265 times out of 2,477 – or again, 91 percent of the time," Franken said. "So I would ask my friend from Connecticut, if we are allowing over 90% of people on the terrorist watchlist to purchase deadly weapons here at home, does that not suggest that we aren’t even coming close to doing everything in our power to both combat terrorism and address gun violence?"
Sen. Amy Klobuchar invoked Minnesota's large Somali community.
"We love our Muslim community in our state. They are a part of a fabric of life. We have the biggest Somali community in the country. But we also know that we need to keep our communities safe," she said.
"In Minnesota, we have a little experience with this. We were the state that before 9/11 some citizens, flight instructors were able to detect something was wrong with a man that cared about flying, Moussaoui, but not about landing, and so they turned him in, and no one was ever able to connect the dots, but there he was in a jail in Minnesota. I know a little bit about this as a former prosecutor, and I know a little bit about this because of the cases that we have had in our state. We have had dozens of indictments against people that have been trying to go to join Al-Shabaab in Somalia or the terrorist group ISIS. We just had three convictions in U.S. Federal court in just the last week. We know about this in our state and how close it hits to home. We love our Muslim community in our state. They are a part of a fabric of life. We have the biggest Somali community in the country. But we also know that we need to keep our communities safe, and by working with that community, we have been able to bring these kinds of prosecutions. And so when it's that close, you know that you don't want people who on the -- who are on the terrorist watch list to get guns. And incredibly U.S. Law does not prevent individuals who are on the terror watch list from purchasing guns,” Klobuchar said before citing the GAO report.
The Associated Press contributed to this report