Senate rejects gun background checks in setback for Obama

A display of 7-round .45 caliber handguns are seen at Coliseum Gun Traders Ltd. in Uniondale, New York January 16, 2013. REUTERS/Shannon StapletonYahoo News – by John Whitesides and David Lawder | Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Senate on Wednesday rejected a bipartisan plan to expandbackground checks for gun buyers, dealing a sharp blow to President Barack Obama’s campaign to curb gun violence after the Newtown school massacre.

Despite emotional pleas from families of victims of the Newtown, Connecticut, shootings and broad public support nationwide, the plan to extend background checks to online and gun-show sales failed on a 54-46 vote, six votes short of the 60-vote hurdle needed to clear the Senate.  

The amendment negotiated by Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Pat Toomeyof Pennsylvania was seen as Obama’s best hope to pass meaningful gun-control legislation after the December massacre of 20 children and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown.

Other measures backed by the Democratic president – including a proposal to ban rapid-firing “assault” weapons like the one used in Connecticut and a limit on ammunition magazines – also are expected to fail as the Senate conducts nine consecutive votes on gun-control legislation.

The votes are the culmination of weeks of intense negotiations and lobbying over Obama’s proposed gun restrictions, and the defeat of the background checks amendment could doom the biggest package of gun legislation Congress has considered in two decades.

Opponents of the Manchin-Toomey plan and the restrictions on assault weapons said the proposals were an example of government overreach that would infringe on the constitutional right to bear arms.

The Democratic-led Senate also will consider several Republican-sponsored amendments backed by the National Rifle Association gun lobby that would expand gun rights, adding an element of uncertainty to the eventual content of the bill.

The Senate legislation also includes tighter restrictions on gun trafficking and more funding for school security.

The Manchin-Toomey background checks amendment allowed exemptions for private sales or gifts between families and friends and prohibited the creation of a national registry of guns. Polls show more than 80 percent of Americans support expanded background checks.


But the NRA had warned members the proposal would require checks for sales and gifts between family and friends and lead to a national registry, drawing complaints from supporters of the measure.

The NRA’s assertions are “a lie. That is simply a lie, and anybody who can read knows that is not factual,” Manchin, a strong gun-rights defender, said on the Senate floor on Wednesday.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, also a gun owner and gun-rights defender, accused the gun lobby of “shameful scare tactics” and questioned why his colleagues would reject a proposal backed by nearly 90 percent of Americans.

He said he would “vote my conscience” and back the assault weapons ban and limits on ammunition.

“We must strike a better balance between the right to defend ourselves and the right of every child in America to grow up safe from gun violence,” Reid said.

“If tragedy strikes again – if innocents are gunned down in a classroom or a theater or a restaurant – I could not live with myself as a father, as a husband, as a grandfather or as a friend knowing that I didn’t do everything in my power to prevent it,” Reid said.

Among the amendments offered by Republicans was one from Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa that would become a substitute for the existing gun-control bill. It would focus on prosecuting gun crimes, improving mental health records for gun owners and funding improved school safety measures.

Grassley’s substitute, co-sponsored by Republican Ted Cruz of Texas, would not include an expansion of background checks but would expand some gun rights by allowing interstate firearm sales.

“Rather than restricting the rights of law-abiding Americans, we should be focusing on keeping guns out of the hands of violent criminals, which this legislation accomplishes,” Cruz said. “The only way to stop violent crime is to stop violent criminals.”

Cruz, echoing an NRA ad running online this week, cited a survey in which most police chiefs favored more extensive enforcement of current gun laws over any effort to expand background checks.

(Editing by David Lindsey and Peter Cooney)

15 thoughts on “Senate rejects gun background checks in setback for Obama

  1. ““This is going to be a close vote, and I can assure you of one thing—we’re going to get this eventually,” Biden said during a live video for Google. “If we don’t get this today, we’ll get this eventually.””–politics.html

    This damn old, senile bastard needs to be hanged for treason against the 2nd Article.

    This goes to show you that they WILL NOT give up, like the Satanic and demonic psychopaths that they are.

    1. NC
      So what Biden was saying was, is that they are going to keep killing our kids with mass shooting false flags until we either give up our guns, or we go to war with them.

  2. Background checks….Feb. 2012, I went to bi-mart of all places to buy a simple 22 rifle.. 200 bucks I think. I had already bought a 9mm hi-point in December 2011. I dont even have a traffic ticket in the last 30 years, but I was denied during background check. I would not stand for it. I called the ATF, the Oregon State Police, and my State Representative to complain. I will say, the ATF was very cool, the guy I talked to was upset but there was nothing he could do. He was cool tho. My State Rep was the same. The Oregon State Police were not so nice tho. Basically “F you” is what they told me. After 11 months, I finally was approved. I had my 2nd amendment rights taken away from me for 11 months, for no reason. Never been arrested, never on psycho drugs, no family disputes, a pilllar of this community etc. Maybe they should fix the background checks that are already in place. This is a true story, I lived it.

  3. DAMN THEM !!!! Just when you think you’ve gottem figured out, they go and do something right,….. for a change !!!

  4. They might have something else up their sleeves Michael…Beware when the Senate does something right.

    1. I agree with you there, D. When something is done right, that is when something even worse comes along and gets passed. The Internet censorship bills are pure proof of that. CISPA, SOPA, etc. It never ends. Never let your guard down, people.

  5. Good news. I’m having a wee schadenfreude moment as I look at the sorry SOBs wearing their “me so sad” faces on the WH lawn.

    No thanks to John “Reverse Ace” McCain. What a POS.

  6. Obummer’s speach after the vote was an example of a classic case of a sore loser. Obviously, he does not have an understanding of separation of powers. He can’t always have it his way. Our elected representatives today represented their constituent’s wishes, whether it was by true conviction or fear they would be thrown out of office. Either way, it was a good day and a triumph for our liberties. Vigilance must be maintained because the Dimocrats will never give up until we are disarmed. They are despicable slime!

    1. the fact that this f#@kin clown obama bin lyin himself, has the F@#KING NERVE to say that “90% of america supported gun control” and talked about it, but then did nothing about it, is proof enough that this man is clinically INSANE, he has done the exact opposite of every f#@king campaign promise he has ever f#@king made, he is the MASTER OF SAYING ONE THING, AND THEN DOING THE OTHER, SO, MR. OBAMA, WITH NO DUE RESPECT, GO F#@K YOURSELF, AND QUIT BELIEVING YOUR AGENDA DRIVEN FAKE ASS POLL NUMBERS, ITS REALLY STARTING TO LOOK LIKE 90% OF AMERICA KNOWS YOU’RE FULL OF SHIT!!!

  7. Quit saying its a setback. The bill was just not the one they wanted. There are many bills going through right now concerning the subject of this one which are way more,,, uh, vigorous. They pull this stuff all the time and everyone keeps falling for it and loses track of the fight. They’re saying the same things about the gun bans and registration that they did with obuma care,, and guess what? We have obuma care.

  8. What’s that sound? It’s the control freaks whining “Let’s do it for the children; to hell with the Constitution!”

  9. Is this a FEINT? They pass the IL-legal amnesty bill while we celebrate victory …… then have another shooting?

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