Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tn.) on Wednesday released the following statement on his vote against amendments to the gun legislation that would have enacted a so-called “assault weapons” ban and expanded the gun background check system and his support of a proposal offered by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
“I’m examining every amendment to gun legislation to see whether it infringes upon or strengthens Second Amendment constitutional rights,” Alexander said. “I voted against the so-called ‘assault weapons’ ban because it clearly infringes on Second Amendment rights, and I voted against the Toomey-Manchin amendment because it could easily evolve into a national gun registry.” The Toomey-Manchin amendment was rejected by the Senate, having failed to achieve the 60 votes required for passage.
“I’m supporting the Grassley-Cruz amendment because it strengthens Second Amendment rights while improving our existing system to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and those a court has decided are dangerously mentally ill.”
The Senate Majority first brought up an amendment to expand the gun background check system by Senators Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), and later the “assault weapons” ban by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). On April 11, Senator Alexander announced his opposition to the Toomey-Manchin amendment, which he has said would “impose a background check system that is overly broad, vague and ultimately ineffective.”
The Grassley-Cruz amendment would strengthen federal prosecution under existing gun laws, and clarify which records must be included in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. It targets criminals, such as gang members who are responsible for putting guns in the hands of violent offenders. In cases of mental illness, a court proceeding would have to determine that an individual is a danger to themselves or others before his or her name is submitted.
The National Rifle Association also supports the Grassley proposal. In its most recent ranking of the senator, the NRA gave Alexander an “A rating.”