Peter King: Senate Republicans Should Not Filibuster Gun Control Bill

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) disagrees with the 14 Senate Republicans who plan to filibuster gun control legislation, saying the public deserves discussion on the matter.

"Let this come to a debate ... Even if it doesn't go down the way I want it to, I think the American people are entitled to a debate. To me, to use Senate rules to block a debate on an issue of this importance is just wrong," said King on CNN on Tuesday morning. "It's not like something is trying to be snuck through here. This is something that warrants a full and open debate."

King supports universal background checks, unlike many members of his party. But he said that even if he didn't have that position, he would still support allowing the bill come to the Senate floor.

"To stifle debate and cut it off almost makes it as if these senators are afraid of something," said King. "I don't know what they're afraid of. If they're so sure of their position, let it come to a debate."

Strengthening background checks for gun sales is enormously popular with the public. A recent poll found that nine in 10 Americans favor universal background checks.

On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced that he would join 14 of his colleagues in a filibuster threat of the gun package that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is trying to bring up.

"While nobody knows yet what Sen. Reid's plan is for the gun bill, if he chooses to file cloture on the motion to proceed to the Reid bill, Sen. McConnell will oppose cloture on proceeding to that bill," said McConnell spokesman Don Stewart in a statement.

CBS News attempted to talk to the other 13 Republican senators who back the filibuster on its show on Tuesday morning, but all of them declined to be interviewed.

Sens. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) have both said they believe a filibuster would be inappropriate.

"The purpose of the United States Senate is to debate and to vote and to let the people know where we stand," McCain said on CBS's "Face The Nation" on Sunday. "I would not only encourage it, I don’t understand it. What are we afraid of?"

CORRECTION: Currently 14 Republican senators, including McConnell, are threatening to filibuster the gun control bill, not 15 as previously reported.



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