New GOP-backed gun control bill might actually pass the Senate

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Bipartisan Measure Breathes New Life Into Gun Control Battle

When lawmakers rejected four partisan gun-control measures on Tuesday, Senator Chris Murphy, who led a 15-hour filibuster to force a vote on the measures in the first place, called the Senate's failure to agree on legislation proof of the NRA's "vice-like grip." But a new bipartisan effort, spearheaded by GOP Senator Susan Collins, is reportedly gaining traction, and a hand full of Republicans have expressed their support for the proposal despite the NRA's vocal objections.

Collins' bill, which is more restrictive than those proposed by Democratic Senators Dianne Feinstein and Chris Murphy and more sweeping than either proposed by Republican Senators John Cornyn and Charles Grassley, would allow the attorney general to ban sales of guns to people who appear either on the government's no-fly list or on a "selectee" list, members of which require additional screening at airports.

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Federal authorities would be notified if anyone on either list going back five years purchased a gun, and the FBI would then put that individual under surveillance — the measure would've assured authorities were at least alerted to the fact that the Orlando gunman had purchased a weapon. In an appeal to Republicans, it would also give people who are wrongfully put on the list a chance to appeal the attorney general's ruling.

RELATED: See photos of the recent filibuster

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2016 senate filibuster for gun control
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2016 senate filibuster for gun control
This frame grab provided by C-SPAN shows Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn. speaking on the floor of the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, June 15, 2016, where he launched a filibuster demanding a vote on gun control measures. The move comes three days after people were killed in a mass shooting in Orlando. (Senate Television via AP)
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) (C) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) (R) speak to reporters after ending a 14-hour filibuster in the hopes of pressuring the U.S. Senate to action on gun control measures, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. June 16, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) (C) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) (R) speak to reporters after ending a 14-hour filibuster in the hopes of pressuring the U.S. Senate to action on gun control measures, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. June 16, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) (C) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) (R, obscured) speak to reporters after ending a 14-hour filibuster in the hopes of pressuring the U.S. Senate to action on gun control measures, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. June 16, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) (C) collects himself as members of his staff catch up with him in the halls after he ended a 14-hour filibuster in the hopes of pressuring the U.S. Senate to action on gun control measures, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. June 16, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) (C) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) (L) speak to staff members after ending a 14-hour filibuster in the hopes of pressuring the U.S. Senate to action on gun control measures, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. June 16, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) (C) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) speak to reporters after ending a 14-hour filibuster in the hopes of pressuring the U.S. Senate to action on gun control measures, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. June 16, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Spencer Davis (L), an intern for U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), greets Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) as he departs the Senate floor to thank him for his work with fellow senators on a filibuster to put pressure on legislators to move on gun control measures, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. June 16, 2016. Davis said he was moved to meet Booker because he had a relative killed in an infamous 1966 shooting spree from a tower at the University of Texas. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) (center L) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) (center R) depart the Senate floor directly after ending a 14-hour filibuster in the hopes of pressuring the U.S. Senate to action on gun control measures, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. June 16, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) (C) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) (R) speak to aides directly after ending a 14-hour filibuster in the hopes of pressuring the U.S. Senate to action on gun control measures, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. June 16, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 15: Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) leaves in an elevator after assisting Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) in waging an almost 15-hour filibuster on the Senate floor in order to force a vote on gun control on June 15, 2016 in Washington, DC. Murphy wants the Senate to vote on a measure banning anyone on the no-fly list from purchasing a weapon. (Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)
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"If you are too dangerous to fly on an airplane, you're too dangerous to buy a gun," Collins said Tuesday as she revealed the terms of the bill. "Surely the terrorists attacks in San Bernardino and in Orlando that took so many lives are a call for compromise," she added.

Although many remain skeptical, her measure — which could come up for a vote as early as Thursday — is gaining traction among some Republicans. Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire all co-sponsored the bill, and sponsors reportedly estimate that at least seven more are behind it. Senator David Purdue of Georgia said he was "hopeful" he'd be able to support the bill, and the bill's co-sponsors are reportedly trying to convince Senator Marco Rubio to joint the cause. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is expected to schedule a vote for the measure, and one lawmaker said McConnell will "not be dictated to" by the NRA.

Graham spoke directly to the NRA as he expressed his support for the bill:

"To my friends at the NRA, I understand your concern about denying somebody the right to buy a gun ... but every right has boundaries on it," he said. "The likelihood of someone being on this list and buying a gun to use it in a terrorist act to me is far greater than the likelihood of an innocent person being on this list. We can fix the problem with the innocent person. Once the gun's bought, you don't fix that."

The NRA, however, was not swayed. "No one wants terrorists to have legal or illegal access to firearms," Chris Cox, the NRA's chief lobbyist, said Tuesday. "Unfortunately, Senator Collins and others are focusing their efforts on unconstitutional proposals that would not have prevented the Orlando terrorist attack."

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