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Senate filibuster forces Republicans on gun control vote

Democrats in the US Senate held the floor for fifteen hours in a bid to force a debate on gun legislation. Republicans finally agreed to vote on the matter following the mass shooting in Orlando.

US Senator Chris Murphy ended a 15-hour filibuster on Thursday morning after Republicans agreed to hold a vote on new gun control laws. Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, sought a debate on expanded background checks for gun sales and preventing people on the US terror watch list from buying them.

Senate Democrats have renewed their push for tighter gun legislation in the wake of

Sunday's attack at a gay night club in Orlando,

which saw 49 people killed. Republicans, who control both houses of Congress, have repeatedly blocked new gun control laws, arguing for a broad interpretation of the constitutional right to bear arms.

"When we began there was no commitment, no plan to debate these measures," said Murphy towards the end of his marathon speech. "No guarantee that those amendments pass, but we'll have some time to...prevail upon members to take these measures and turn them into law."

Trump to meet with NRA

Such is the pressure on Republicans and the National Rifle Association (NRA) in the wake of the Orlando massacre that presidential nominee Donald Trump took the somewhat unpredictable step of saying on Wednesday that he would meet with the NRA. Trump said he would discuss how to block people on the terrorism and no-fly watch lists from buying guns.

At the same time, Trump has used the extremist ideology of Orlando shooter Omar Mateen to renew his call for a temporary ban on Muslim immigration to the US.

As Murphy wrapped up the filibuster, President Barack Obama was on his way to Orlando to meet with survivors of the deadliest mass shooting in US history.

Obama said he would give a public statement after the meeting, "to make clear that the country stands with the people of Orlando, stands with the LGBT community in Orlando, as they grieve for their loss."

es/msh (AP, Reuters)

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