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U.S. Rep. Bill Owens
U.S. Rep. Bill Owens

Owens upset by inaction on background check bill

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North Country Congressman Bill Owens says he's disappointed that an effort to expand background checks for gun buyers was voted down in the Senate.

Meanwhile, the Plattsburgh Democrat says he's frustrated that House Republicans are blocking a repeal of the medical device tax contained in 2010's Affordable Care Act.

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Reported by

Chris Morris
Tri-Lakes Correspondent

Bill Owens opposes a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. But he is a fervent supporter of more detailed and thorough checks on gun buyers.

Owens said he'd be surprised if the House takes any action at all on gun control.

"I think [House Speaker John] Boehner has made it pretty clear that he would have at least given serious consideration to bringing any bill that was passed by the Senate to the House floor, at least with regards to background checks and gun running," Owens said. "So that's why I'm disappointed that the Senate did not pass it and didn't give us a chance to explore the legislation, debate it and have a good discussion about it."

Meanwhile, Owens and more than 200 of his colleagues are bringing back a measure to repeal a tax on products like cotton swabs and CT scan machines.

But House leadership hasn't put the bill to a vote.

"What Republicans are doing is saying, 'this is something we want, but we want to use it as a negotiating tool in the debt ceiling debate,'" he said. "At least those are the rumors. The only fact that I can tell you is they refuse to bring it to the floor for a vote."

Owens said lawmakers haven't put forth any proposals to end the spending cuts known as sequestration, which has resulted in worker furloughs at federal agencies.

Chris Morris' reporting is courtesy of the Adirondack Daily Enterprise. For more of his work, go to

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