Corker: We Can Still Get a Bill ‘That Protects 2nd Amendment Rights’ and Keeps Guns Out of Terrorist Hands

By Melanie Arter | June 27, 2016 | 12:05pm EDT
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee (AP Photo)

( – Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, told CNN’s “State of the Union with Jake Tapper” that Congress can still pass a bill that “protects 2nd Amendment rights” and keeps guns out of terrorist hands.

“There's still a place that we can get to that protects Second Amendment rights, but also ensures that we keep guns out of the hands of terrorists,” Corker said.


Tapper asked Corker about a gun control bill introduced by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) last week after four other gun control bills were defeated along party lines. Collins’ bill would ban people on the government’s no fly list from buying guns. The bill fell shy of the 60 votes needed to advance it. Only eight Republicans voted for it, and Corker was not one of them.

Opponents of the bill were reportedly concerned about due process. They objected to the government being able to block the sale of a weapon without first demonstrating probable cause to a judge that the person trying to buy the gun was a terrorist.

“It's been just two weeks since the deadliest mass shooting in the modern history of the U.S. There was a lot of action on Capitol Hill this week on gun control. The Senate voted on a measure by your Republican Senator Susan Collins that would allow the Justice Department to block people on two key federal terror lists from purchasing firearms, with a chance to appeal if somebody was wrongly included on one of the lists. Eight Republicans voted for the measure. You voted against it,” Tapper said.

“Yes,” Corker replied.

“I think a lot of Americans watching, and the overwhelming body of the American people, including Republicans, want people on the terror watch list to be banned from buying guns. They feel that, you know, somebody put accidentally on the list is not more important than keeping guns out of the hands of, say, the 50,000 people suspected to have ties to al Qaeda who are on the list or the 73,000 people suspected to have ties to al Qaeda in Iraq. What do you say to them?” Tapper asked.

“Well, I was working very closely with Susan Collins, and I want to tell her, I want to say she did a Herculean job in trying to pull people together. I think people may have missed what the Johnson amendment said, where it would -- actually, it had a series of things that would keep hands -- guns out of the hands of terrorists for 27 days while law enforcement officials were able to do their job,” Corker said.

“At one point, Susan's bill was going to have an up-front determination, and I think, had she been able to get there -- I think those negotiations broke down -- but I think she would have ended up with a very, very good piece of legislation,” he said.

Instead, Corker said a gun control bill introduced by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) seems like a better option, because it doesn’t have the same due process concerns that the Collins bill does.

“And, Jake, I don't think this is over. My guess is, we're going to continue to work on it. I will say, again, if you go back and look at the Johnson bill, nobody really wanted to study that, but it was really, really good,” Corker said.

“And my sense is that, between the nuance of his bill and her bill, there's still a place that we can get to that protects Second Amendment rights, but also ensures that we keep guns out of the hands of terrorists. So, I don't think it's over yet. At least, I hope it's not,” he added.

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