Moments after police received calls about a shooting at a California high school, Republicans blocked a motion to force a vote on universal gun background checks on the floor of the United States Senate.
The motion was brought forward by Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), and had been previously passed by the House. A time clip from a video of the Senate floor showed Murphy speaking at 8:12 a.m. PT, less than an hour after Los Angeles County police received their first reports of the shooting.
“Republicans objected, my motion failed, and now, as a consequence, the slaughter of our children will continue,” said Murphy in a tweet just hours after the shooting took place.
Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) objected on behalf of Republicans, blocking its consideration, adding that legislation that would affect Americans’ Second Amendment rights “should not be fast tracked by the Senate.”
A 16-year-old girl was killed and multiple others were wounded during the shooting, which took place at Saugus High School early Thursday morning. Shortly after, the Los Angeles County police station tweeted that another boy was struck by gunfire and died in hospital.
The other victims remain in hospital. Several of them are in critical condition.
The suspect is believed to be a 16-year-old boy in hospital with self-inflicted gunshot wound, L.A. County police sheriff Alex Villanueva told reporters.
The bill, known as the universal background check bill, H.R.8., would have established new background check requirements for firearm transfers between private parties (i.e., unlicenced individuals) unless a licenced gun dealer, manufacturer or importer conducted a background check first.
Murphy requested the motion be passed by unanimous consent, a procedural move that allows a bill to skip several steps, including debate, to pass unanimously, without senators casting an individual vote when it was rejected.
The legal age for purchasing a firearm in the state of California is 21, outside the range of how old the alleged shooter would have had to be to obtain the gun legally.