In the U.S. Senate, Republicans on Monday blocked a series of amendments that would have curbed access to guns for people on the federal terrorism watch list, and made it harder for people to buy guns at gun shows and on the Internet.
And in the Oregon Senate, Republican lawmakers are gearing up for a fundraiser July 28 aimed at increasing the number of Republicans in the Senate and even retaking control of the Senate president's office they lost in 2003. (Democrats currently hold an 18 to 12 majority.)
The tagline for the event? "Shooting for the majority."
Dan Torres, a campaign spokesman for Senate Democrats, called the timing of the event, which will be held at a skeet shooting facility in Gervais, "insensitive" in light of the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., last week. He also characterized the theme as out of step with a majority of Oregonians who favor stronger background checks on gun purchases.
"I think it just goes to show Republicans are siding with the NRA over Oregonians," Torres says.
Caitie Butler, a spokeswoman for the Senate Republicans, defended the $1,000 per person event, hosted by Sen. Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day). (Which, incidentally, is open only to female lobbyists. Butler says Republicans typically have one or two events just for them.)
"This is a longstanding fundraising event that illustrates Senator Ferrioli's support for Second Amendment rights," she writes in an email. "It is a shame Democrats are trying to politicize the tragedy in Orlando by tying a fundraiser at a clay target facility to the senseless, tragic deaths of 49 people in Orlando."
Ferrioli called the criticism about the sporting event "overreach."
"It's really a reach for me to make trap- and skeet-shooting into something sinister," he says.