Senate rejects series of tougher gun-control measures

Did senators get it right or wrong? Share your thoughts in the comments section at the end of this story.
TNS Regional News
Apr 17, 2013


Gun control advocates led by President Barack Obama suffered a huge setback Wednesday as the Senate defeated a delicately crafted compromise aimed at strengthening background checks for gun buyers — and then proceeded to reject a ban on assault weapons and limits on ammunition clips.

The votes were a bitter reminder that winning even the most gentle of gun control measures faces a near-impossible path to winning congressional approval.

“All in all, this was a pretty shameful day for Washington,” a clearly irritated Obama said after the background check vote.

Gun control backers thought this time might be different, that they could reverse the years of frustration getting meaningful gun control legislation approved. The horror of the Dec. 14 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, where a gunman killed 20 schoolchildren and six adults in Newtown, Conn., was never far from the minds of senators.

Victims of gun violence from Newtown, Tucson, Colorado and other sites of recent horrors watched the votes from the galleries. “Shame on you!” Patricia Maisch, a survivor of the January 2011 Tucson shopping center shootings, shouted as the Senate vote to reject the background check compromise was announced.

At the White House after the vote, Mark Barden, the father of a child killed at Sandy Hook, recalled how “we met with dozens of Democrats and Republicans, and shared with them pictures of our children, our spouses, our parents who lost their lives on December 14th. Expanded background checks wouldn’t have saved our loved ones, but still we came to support a bipartisan proposal from two senators.”

The disappointment and anger were clear. Obama had a personal lobbying effort unlike any seen by a president since the Clinton administration. After the background check defeat, he went to the Rose Garden, flanked by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and Vice President Joe Biden, and put the blame for the defeat squarely on the gun lobby. Giffords was severely wounded in the Tucson incident.

“All that happened today was the preservation of the loophole that lets dangerous criminals buy guns without a background check,” Obama said.

“Instead of supporting this compromise,” he said, “the gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill. They claimed that it would create some sort of ‘big brother’ gun registry, even though the bill did the opposite.”

The strategy worked, Obama lamented. “Unfortunately, this pattern of spreading untruths about this legislation served a purpose, because those lies upset an intense minority of gun owners, and that in turn intimidated a lot of senators.”

To change Washington, he said, “You, the American people, are going to have to sustain some passion about this. And when necessary, you’ve got to send the right people to Washington.”

In vote after vote Wednesday afternoon, gun control backers came up short of the 60 needed for passage.

The background check compromise got 54 votes. The assault weapons ban got 40, even after Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., pleaded with colleagues to “show some guts.” The effort to put curbs on ammunition clips got 46 votes.

The votes largely reflected geography. Senators from more rural, more conservative states sided with gun rights advocates. Senators with more urban constituencies backed gun control.

Gun rights supporters tried to get some changes to the bill, and those too failed. A bid to expand concealed-carry laws got 57 votes. An alternative to the background check compromise got 52.

Many had thought the tortured memory of Newtown would finally help win at least the background check effort.

“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,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

But conscience meant different things to different senators.

Reid’s Nevada colleague, Republican Sen. Dean Heller, was seen as a potential swing vote for the background check compromise. He voted no.

“The onerous paperwork and expansion of federal power mandated in this legislation are too great of a concern,” he explained in a statement. “I believe that this legislation could lead to the creation of a national gun registry and puts additional burdens on law-abiding citizens.”

That was the opponents’ chief complaint. The background check provision was viewed as a mild form of gun control. Crafted by gun rights backers Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., it would extend background checks to gun shows and online sales but would exempt private transactions.

Manchin, a National Rifle Association member, pleaded with colleagues to back the measure and said on the Senate floor that the NRA had lied about the measure’s reach.

“There is not a universal background check,” he said, answering critics. “There is nothing in this bill that basically says that you’re living in a neighborhood, and you want to sell your neighbor your gun, you can do it. No background checks are required.”

Other opponents argued that the Manchin-Toomey approach simply wouldn’t work.

“We should not further strain the existing broken system by expanding the use of an incomplete database to more transactions,” said Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa. “We should fix the existing system.”

Grassley and Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, offered an alternative that would increase the number of mental health records entered into the federal background check database.

The Senate voted on a host of other gun provisions. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, tried to require states to respect concealed-carry gun permits issued by other states. Cornyn, speaking on the Senate floor Wednesday, insisted that it wouldn’t establish a national standard for concealed-carry.

“What it would do is to effectively treat concealed-carry licenses like a driver’s license,” Cornyn said. “If you’re driving from Virginia to Texas, you don’t have to obtain a separate driver’s license for each state you drive through.”

But Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., drew a line at his state’s border.

“Concealed-carry is my greatest worry,” he told reporters Tuesday. “The good news there is, instead of needing 60 votes, we need 41” to defeat the amendment.

The Senate also voted on a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines long sought by Feinstein. She had succeeded nearly two decades earlier getting an assault weapons ban passed and launched a forceful renewed effort after the Newtown shootings, but by Wednesday morning, she had all but conceded that the push would not succeed.

“Not every issue we vote on in the Senate is a life or death matter — I believe this is,” she said on the Senate floor. “I urge my colleagues to stand tall and support this amendment.”

But few senators were present — one was Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a North Dakota Democrat who was presiding over the empty chamber. She voted no on Feinstein’s amendment.


By David Lightman and Curtis Tate - McClatchy Newspapers (MCT)

©2013 McClatchy Washington Bureau

Visit the McClatchy Washington Bureau at

Distributed by MCT Information Services



New York Times, could you get another liberal rag that is in bed with Obozo. A newspaper that is failing with strong ties to the administration. Punch is putting this liberal rag in the ground where it belongs.


Google it. There are many, many opinion polls on the same subject. Not just the times. Quit being so lazy.

Rich Close

80% ? Your dreaming

"Only 4 percent of Americans think guns and gun control are an important problem facing the country" Gallup poll April 2013


next week will it be 70% betrump? Last week it was 90%, now 80% this week. Keep living in your imaginary world and creating your own facts and stats. Comical


I know it's too much for you to actually research anything you talk about. I never posted a stat for last week, or the week before, nor did I make anything up. You, however, have consistently made up stupid 'facts' to support any and all of your silly right wing arguments.


proof please? I always provide links to credible sites. You however, just make stuff up and we all know it. Just keep those lips a flopping.


Let's just see the source of your numbers


Not enough? How about this:
Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health: A national survey of 2,703 respondents found 89 percent support universal background checks; 69 percent support banning the sale of semiautomatic assault weapons; 68 percent support banning the sale of large-capacity ammunition magazines.
Fox News: The conservative news network asked 1,008 registered voters about various policies, finding that 91 percent favored universal background checks on all gun purchases; 54 percent supported banning assault weapons; while 56 percent supported banning the sale of high-capacity magazines.
Gallup: 1,021 Americans were asked if they would want their member of Congress to vote for or against President Obama’s slate of favored gun legislation — 53 percent said “for,” 41 percent said “against.”
Gallup: A separate poll of 1,013 Americans were asked about specific gun policies. Ninety-one percent favored universal background checks; 60 percent favored reinstating the assault weapons ban; 54 percent favored prohibiting the sale of high-capacity magazines.
Pew: The organization asked 1,006 Americans if they thought “Obama’s proposals on guns go too far, not far enough or are about right.” While 31 percent said they went too far, 39 percent said they were about right and 13 percent said they didn’t go far enough. That gives Obama’s proposal a 21 point edge.
Washington Post/ABC News: Unlike most other polls, this survey of 1,001 adults found greater support for a ban on high-capacity magazines (65 percent) than reinstating the assault weapons ban (58 percent), though solid majorities supported both. Meanwhile, 88 percent supported universal background checks, and 71 percent supported the creation of a federal database to track gun sales.
Washington Post/ABC News: A separate poll of 1,033 Americans found that 53 percent had a “favorable” view of Obama’s gun control proposals, while 41 percent had an “unfavorable” view.
CNN/ORC: A national poll of 602 Americans found that 95 percent favored universal background checks, while 62 percent favored a ban on the sale of both assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
Public Religion Research Institute: The think tank asked 1,033 Americans if they favored “stricter gun control” — 36 percent strongly supported it, while 24 favored it. Just 14 percent opposed and 23 percent strongly opposed it, giving those who favor stricter laws a 23 point edge overall.
NBC News/Wall Street Journal: Asked 1,000 adults, “In general, do you feel that the laws covering the sale of firearms should be made more strict, less strict, or kept as they are now?” Fifty-six percent said “more strict,” while just 7 percent said they should be “less strict.”
New York Times/CBS News: The national poll of 1,110 Americans found that 92 percent favor universal background checks on all gun purchases; 58 percent favor a ban on assault weapons; and 63 percent favor a ban on high-capacity magazines.
AP/GfK: Of the 1,004 adults surveyed, 84 percent favored universal background checks for all gun sales, 55 percent favored a ban on “military-style” assault weapons, 51 percent favored a ban on high-capacity magazines.


Gosh, it got awfully quiet in here, didn't it?


The gun control argument- This is reasonable compromise, this is reasonable compromise, this is reasonable compromise, then another, and another, and another, soon you have nothing left.
It was put this way by Ben Franklin-
They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

To allow the Government to have a list of all gun owners is like having the fox guard the hen house.
The 2nd amendment is THE GUARANTEE we have of preserving all our rights.
The NICS will be used as a backdoor registration if they can expand the coverage.
It was done before during the Clinton administration. The attorney general was maintaining records of transactions even when the law specifically forbade that records be kept. The attorney general finally complied when threatened with being held in contempt of congress, the current attorney general has already been held in contempt so would that stop HIM?

When they wrote the Constitution to regulate was to have a standard of TRAINING not regulating what type of arms a citizen owns.

Here is a court case to support the individuals right-
“The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.' The right of the whole people, old and young, men, women and boys, and not militia only, to keep and bear arms of every description, and not such merely as are used by the milita, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in upon, in the smallest degree; and all this for the important end to be attained: the rearing up and qualifying a well-regulated militia, so vitally necessary to the security of a free State. Our opinion is that any law, State or Federal, is repugnant to the Constitution, and void, which contravenes this right." [Nunn vs. State, 1 Ga. (1 Kel.) 243, at 251 (1846)]


So YOU, and only you realize and understand that the founding fathers meant 'training' when they wrote 'A WELL REGULATED militia.' Regulated is not a synonym for training in any thesaurus I have ever seen.
Besides, it's a total straw man argument; its not about taking your guns. It is about background checks, and the second amendment does NOT say that the government is infringing on your rights by performing a background check.
If you really think your guns are gonna keep you safe from a 'tyrannical' government, you've obviously never thought about it. A submarine could sit off the coast and put a tomahawk cruise missile through your living room before you could even load your gun.


Betrump, We all can learn what they where thinking by reading their own words. Look in the Federalist papers and all the quotes we have from them too.

"Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined". Patrick Henry 1788

"And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms....The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants" (Thomas Jefferson in a letter to William S. Smith in 1787. Taken from Jefferson, On Democracy 20, S. Padover ed., 1939)

" disarm the people - that was the best and most effectual way to enslave them." (George Mason, 3 Elliot, Debates at 380)

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
---Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759.

Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive.
---Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution (Philadelphia 1787).

"As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the article in their right to keep and bear their private arms." (Tench Coxe in `Remarks on the First Part of the Amendments to the Federal Constitution' under the Pseudonym `A Pennsylvanian' in the Philadelphia Federal Gazette, June 18, 1789 at 2 col. 1)

The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion."
Edmund Burke
British Statesman, 1784

"On every question of construction (of the Constitution) let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed." (Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Johnson, June 12, 1823, The Complete Jefferson, p. 322)

"the ultimate authority ... resides in the people alone," (James Madison, author of the Bill of Rights, in Federalist Paper #46.)

"Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American... The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state government, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people" (Tench Coxe, Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788)

"The Constitution shall never be prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms" (Samuel Adams, Debates and Proceedings in the Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 86-87)


The sad part is that you trust the government to maintain adequately the gun registration list, most people don't!!!! As of right now your registration remains at the gun store, new law would have made a federal data base for gun ownership. Totally unacceptable!!!!!


Why is it unacceptable? The 2nd Amendment clearly, CLEARLY states a 'Well regulated militia.' What do you have to hide? Your car, your home isn't 'registered' with the government? What am I missing? You think you're so special that if a crime is committed with your gun that it should not be traced back to you?


Try telling your guns are only for killing to trap and skeet shooters and people hunting to feed their family. Also what about the recreational target shooters.

tired of stupidy

if the laws already on the books would be enforced it would help a lot! what good would it do to add more laws if they are not enforced?? adding a new gun law is not going to save YOU. When the situation is dire YOU are going to have to be prepared to save YOURSELF!


That was exactly the purpose of this bill . The NRA flat out lied about the bills content . This bill would only have strengthened existing laws nothing more , and these senators , bought and paid for by the NRA couldn't even accept that . Yes , shameful. The NRA and the senators who support them should be considered traitors for aiding terrorist both foreign and domestic , because they are making guns easily accessible to them.

hit the road jack

Funny I didn't see you going nuts on the govt. GIVING automatic weapons to mexicans that they knew were going to be mass killings from them? where are you now on that? how about all the kids killed from the drones,where are you on that? if you aren't going to piss and moan about that just put your keyboard away and never respond on here again!


I am against all those things , but that doesn't mean I have to write a comment on here about every issue . I save some keyboard time for my congressman as well . You know where it counts.

hit the road jack

anyone who thinks guns will not be smuggled into this country (just like the drugs)if they are made illegal is really drinking the funny kool-aid, if you can't keep drugs out of the country how you gonna keep guns out?


Hit the road jack, is exactly what you should do. You're so desperate that you're now bringing up completely different subjects. It's you that needs to go.

hit the road jack

I can not help it your pea brain can't comprehend the comparison,no,it's mutts like you that have to go,you and your socialist hacks.


Jack, Betrump is just a TROLL trying to get emotional respouces from you so you lose credibility in your arguement. Very much like Ralph Wiggum.
Bluto is doing the same thing as well.
Battle them with reason and watch them disapear.


Just because I don't believe in your stupidity doesn't make me a troll. And hey, what about those Japanese bombing Pearl Harbor? Where was your outrage then!?!? Yes, you sound that stupid.


Wake up AMERICA! You can't beleive much of anything this administration tells you!


nice to see nobama pizzzzzed lol way to go senate keep it up .!!!! lol


That's all most of you really care about. Win at any cost especially against the President! Sad!

tell it how it is

no, that's what idiots care about.
That was a pretty stupid comment. There's ignorance on both sides. Just have to weed out the ideas that come from facts and observations, rather then junk like that.


Whoooaaa there at any cost Obama, Pelosi...Reid....

Pot meet Kettle.