Meet the Female Senators Leading Bipartisan Efforts to Pass New Gun Control Legislation
After the Senate voted down four gun control measures on Monday, it became painfully clear to Americans that not even a massacre as tragic as last week's Orlando shooting was enough to unite politicians.
Two women, however, won't accept the infamous party divide on gun control as an immutable fact. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) are reaching across the aisle to draft a new bipartisan bill that would make it illegal to sell guns to people on the United States government's no-fly list.
According to the New York Times, the legislation, proposed on Tuesday, would also notify government officials if anyone on the list even attempted to purchase a firearm.
"Surely the terrorist attacks in San Bernardino and Orlando that took so many lives are a call for compromise, a plea for bipartisan action," Collins said in a press conference, reported the Times. "Essentially, we believe if you are too dangerous to fly on an airplane, you are too dangerous to buy a gun."
This isn't the first time women in the Senate have led the charge toward compromise: Amid the 2013 government shutdown, Collins, alongside Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Kelly Ayotte (R-New Hampshire), started a bipartisan group with a three-point plan to appease both parties, daring anyone else to come up with a better solution. Their plan ultimately formed the core of the negotiation settlement that got the U.S. government up and running again.
Whether Tuesday's gun control legislation will be as effective is still up for debate. The bill needs the support of 60 senators and it remains unclear whether it will garner the backing of enough Republicans to push it through.
Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, though, told the Times he'll do whatever it takes, saying, "I'm going to be working to make sure she gets a vote on that proposal."
And, if it passes, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said it will send a powerful message to gun advocates, especially the National Rifle Association.
"It'll be the first time that in a bipartisan way, with significant Republican support, the NRA is told, 'You're way off-base,'" he said.