The Senate Filibuster Ended With An Agreement To Vote On Two Gun Measures. Here’s What They Entail.

Democratic Senator Christopher Murphy of Connecticut led a 15-hour filibuster on gun violence Wednesday in an effort to get Republicans to vote on amendments to an annual appropriations bill. Following the tragic mass shooting in Orlando that left 49 dead and 53 injured last weekend, Senate Democrats wanted to take action, but needed Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to allow a vote on amendments to the annual Commerce, Justice, Science appropriations bill that would create stricter gun laws. Senator Murphy ended his marathon of talking after the GOP agreed to vote on two gun control measures, so let’s take a look at what they aim to change.

The first amendment the Democratic senators want to push through aims to keep people on the government’s terrorist watch lists from buying guns. Drafted by Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, it would prohibit anyone whose name appears on any list of known or suspected terrorists, including the “no-fly” list, from purchasing guns or explosive devices, as well as give the attorney general the authority to block gun sales to anyone with suspected links to terrorist activity or who might use a weapon for a terrorist attack, even if their name isn’t on an official list. There’s currently no restriction on people on terrorist watch lists from buying guns if they haven’t actually been found guilty of anything.

For gun-lovers worried about inadvertently ending up on a terrorist watch list and therefore being barred from gun shows (honestly, what are you doing that could lead to such a mishap?), the Justice Department would settle disputes when Americans are mistakenly put on a “bad guy” list. Gun sales would also be allowed to go through when blocking the sale could give away a major terrorism investigation.

Senator Feinstein said in a press release about the proposal:

“In light of the worst mass shooting in our nation’s history, the dangerous loophole in our laws that allows known or suspected terrorists to legally purchase guns has again been exposed. We must act to close this loophole. Over the past decade, 91 percent of individuals who are known or suspected terrorists passed background checks, showing this is a pervasive problem.”

Because the Orlando shooter was investigated by the FBI twice, both times rendering no evidence that he had ties to ISIS or terrorist activity, Democrats argued that such a ban could have prevented him from legally buying guns and subsequently murdering dozens of people in a gay nightclub. However, it’s unclear whether or not he was on an official watch list.

Senators tried to pass a similar bill — Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2015 amendment — in December that was struck down by Republicans. Despite the recent tragedy, nothing suggests enough Republicans are willing to loosen their grip on their beloved Second Amendment to pass the bill now — but that isn’t stopping their rivals across the aisle from trying.

The second amendment Senator Murphy and his progressive colleagues want to pass seeks to expand background check requirements, which has never gone through in the past. Thursday morning, Senate Republicans met to decide on which amendments they would propose in opposition to the Democrats’, Politico reports. One such possibility calls for background checks to include mental health considerations.

The votes could happen as early as Thursday afternoon, but more realistically early next week. Democratic Minority Leader Harry Reid told Politico: “Republicans must join us for those measures to pass. But that won’t happen if the Republicans continue to take their orders — and I mean orders — from the National Rifle Association and Gun Owners of America.”