Senate Gun Votes 2017-2018
*See Below for vote descriptions
||Party||State||Social Security Gun Ban||Cloture on Gorsuch||Confirmation Neil Gorsuch||Protecting Gun Owner Privacy||Gun Ban for Vets & Seniors (I)||Gun Ban for Vets & Seniors (II)||Mark Bennett Confirmation||Brett Kavanaugh Confirmation|
Repeal of Social Security Gun Ban. On February 15, 2017, the Senate voted to repeal Barack Obama’s social security gun ban (H.J.Res. 40) by a 57-43 vote. Obama’s executive rule would have resulted in the federal government trolling the Social Security rolls and identifying recipients whose checks were processed by a guardian. Once these people were identified, their names would be inputted into the NICS system, and their guns would be taken away. Both the House and Senate, having passed the repeal language, the President signed it into law on February 28, 2017. A vote in favor of H.J.Res. 40 is a pro-gun vote and is rated as a “+”.
Cloture Vote on Neil Gorsuch. On April 6, 2017, the Senate invoked “cloture” (ending any potential filibuster) on the nomination of the pro-gun Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. The margin was 55-45. An “aye” vote to invoke “cloture” (or end the filibuster) is considered a pro-gun vote and is rated as a “+”.
Senate Confirmation Vote on Neil Gorsuch. On April 7, 2017, the Senate confirmed the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. As a federal judge, Gorsuch had sometimes gone out on a limb on behalf of the right to keep and bear arms. And given that he has recognized that the Second Amendment is an individual right, it is expected that he will follow the Heller decision and the legacy of Justice Antonin Scalia. A vote to confirm Justice Gorsuch is a pro-gun vote and is rated as a “+”.
Preventing a Gun Owners’ Privacy Amendment. On January 16, 2018, a Senate “cloture vote” effectively prevented Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) from offering an amendment to prohibit the wiretapping of American groups like GOA, merely because they mentioned the name of a targeted person — or were mentioned by a targeted person on a wiretapped phone call. The amendment would have also limited the government’s ability to use wiretapped information in prosecuting Americans for purely domestic offenses by first requiring a warrant. The cloture vote was on whether to shut off debate on the reauthorization of the government’s massive wiretapping program (called “Section 702”). The effect of shutting off debate was to disallow amendments by Senator Rand Paul and Senator Mike Lee to put some limits on the government’s wiretapping authority. A vote against “cloture” — which would have allowed the continuation of debate and would have allowed amendments to limit the government’s wiretapping authority — is a “pro-gun” vote and is rated as a “+”.
Veteran/Senior Gun Ban, Part 1 (Rule). On March 23, 2018, the Senate invoked “cloture” on the anti-gun omnibus bill. This vote allowed the spending bill to proceed to a final passage vote. Embedded in this $1.3 trillion budget-busting monstrosity was a so-called Fix NICS provision which would send hundreds of thousands of additional law-abiding veterans and seniors — or even those with outstanding traffic tickets — to the NICS “gun ban” list. In addition, the bill would prohibit new “school safety” funds from being used to arm teachers and staff. A “no” vote against invoking “cloture” is a pro-gun vote and is rated as a “+”.
Veteran/Senior Gun Ban, Part 2 (Final Passage). On March 23, 2018, the Senate passed the anti-gun omnibus spending bill by a 65-32 vote. This $1.3 trillion budget-busting monstrosity featured a so-called Fix NICS provision which would send hundreds of thousands of additional law-abiding veterans and seniors — or even those with outstanding traffic tickets — to the NICS “gun ban” list. In addition, the bill would prohibit new “school safety” funds from being used to arm teachers and staff. A “no” vote against the bill is a pro-gun vote and is rated as a “+”.
Mark Bennett Confirmation. On July 10, 2018, the Senate voted 72-27 to confirm an anti-gun judge (who opposed applying the Second Amendment as an individual right) to the powerful and liberal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. A vote against confirmation of Mark Bennett is a pro-gun vote and is rated as a “+.”
Brett Kavanaugh Confirmation. On October 6, 2018, the Senate confirmed the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. As a federal judge, Kavanaugh had argued in Heller II that D.C.’s ban on semi-automatics was arbitrary and unlawful. A vote to confirm Justice Kavanaugh is a pro-gun vote and is rated as a “+”. NOTE: Montana Senator Steve Daines is listed as voting pro-gun even though he missed the confirmation vote, because he voted correctly during the cloture vote the day before. Likewise, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski is listed as voting anti-gun even though she only voted “present” as a courtesy to Daines. She voted anti-gun on the cloture vote the day before and indicated that, were she not voting present, she would have been a “no” vote on Kavanaugh.