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.
MCT 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 www.mcclatchydc.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Comments

Bluto

This bill doesn't require background checks for private sales , and makes it punishable for up to 15 years in prison if someone trys to create a registry .What part of that don't you agree with?

goofus

Do you have a source for your info!!!!

Bluto

Read the bill itself . It's all there .

betrump

Oh, jeez. Your act is tired. Blah, blah, blah...where's your source? Quit being so lazy and google it. Read a paper. Watch the news. Go to the library.

propman

Bluto, you'd trust them not to change that part?
I SURE AS HELL DO NOT!

goofus

Where would find the bill now that it has been pulled and the left on this blog quotes so eloquently on it's provisions

betrump

Eloquent Quotes. Oh, the irony. I have no idea what you just tried to say. I'll have to find my 'stupid to English' translator.

goofus

I have a concern with the hypocrates on the left side of conventional thinking. Under Obozo we are supposed not to judge all muslims by the acts of a few crazies on 911, but the acts of a few American crazies is enough to condemn all americans that own guns!!!!

Obama, dial WHINE 1-1

betrump

Hypocrates? Was he that Greek philosopher?

Cliff Cannon

@ betrump : Just for conversation sake: Hippocrites ( spelled something like that ) was a Greek actor, whose name provided us our famous word. He must have been good to. After all many century's of 'hypocrites' have lived since then. All attempting to act as well as the original at being who they ain't


Great day to you

betrump

I was being facetious. Hippocrates was a greek physician, hence the Hippocratic Oath one takes when becoming a doctor.

Contango

"Few in U.S. See Guns, Immigration as Nation's Top Problems;

The economy and jobs continue to be named as most important U.S. problems"

Guns - 4%

Immigration - 4%

Economy - 24%

Jobs - 18%

http://www.gallup.com/poll/16181...

arnmcrmn

Is it just me or is betrump quite the stalker on this site. This woman or whatever, just cannot let others post a think without a smart comment coming from them. To me this spells miserable person. Quit hiding behind your computer taking shots....its pathetic.

propman

Betrump is playing at being a TROLL.
Here is the deffinetion
Troll (Internet)
In Internet slang, a troll (pron.: /ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is someone who posts inflammatory,[1] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as a forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[2] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.[3] The noun troll may also refer to the provocative message itself, as in: "That was an excellent troll you posted."

arnmcrmn

yup, that is them all right.

betrump

I treat you like you treat me. You silly little conservatives bash everyone that disagrees with you. So guess what? I do the same to you, and I truly enjoy making you look stupid, even though you all think you're brilliant. None of you have any idea what an internet troll is, but looking in the mirror may help.

KnuckleDragger

Once you realize that betrump is the same person as big dog on the SR site, then the picture becomes more clear.

betrump

FAIL.

hit the road jack

KnuckleDraggger: Who is this piece of chit betrump?

goofus

I think he has an English teacher somewhere in his life. He is miserable, he's a liberal. We might have won a battle, but we haven't won the war. Obozo at this very minute is dreaming up more executive orders to implement disarming the American public. America, there is no way to trust this administration, we all have to be very observant.

kURTje

OK it didn't work. While the majority thought it should have. It would bode well for the NRA to dump Ted Nugent a stinking proven coward. LaPierre (sp?) has his points but Nugent reminds me to much of Rob Perry, another chicken-hawk who sullied Kerry's proven war record. Oh well, it seems $$$ are what matters most in America. Not right or wrong - that's to e-z.

hit the road jack

Majority my @ss! majority of the loudmouths wanted it,you know good and well the crooks will find a way,no matter what they have to do to get a gun,and I think Kerry is a pansy too! obviously you haven't heard the stories of how he got 3 purple hearts have you?

WASP71

This is to all of the people that think they are going to just come and confiscate your guns. I will make this one comment and see what people say. There are 370 MILLION registered guns in this country. That does not include what is in private collections or on military bases. So if anyone thinks the gov't is just going to say give me the guns and it will work really don't have a clue. As for the high power/capacity guns why so afraid to have them registered? I've never had to shoot a deer with an AK, 30/06 will do fine. Now where I think people REALLY need to look. To all the regular shooters out here, how much were you paying for ammo 1 year ago? 2? 4?...I'll tell you. I paid $13.99 for .357 mag shells 3 years ago. They are $30 now. Reload lead shot- 2years ago $24, now almost $50. Why doesn't anyone ever complain about the price of ammo? Do people not understand that they can keep all the laws for or against ownership but if the gov't keep taxing the ammo and components to reload then they have actually went in the back door and kept you from either shooting the gun(s) you have or you won't buy one because it's too expensive to shoot? Why don't we lobby for cheaper lead, primers, casings, etc.? Everybody is worried they may make a new law that we are getting priced out of our league. It costs me an average of $300 to shoot weapons for the day. Nedless to say- I only do on special occasions and usually with family. The recreational shooting is pretty much out.

kURTje

Dude you gotta get out some. Rob Perry (Big dollar giver) was the idiot who started those lies about Kerry. Sen. McCain called him "disingenuous." Many of those blo-rods never served during Vietnam & those that did know the facts. Another valid reason why America is weak. Got DD-214?

hit the road jack

I sure as hell wouldn't take anything Mc Cain said with a grain of salt,I think he's a traitor. I suppose you knew Kerry in Nam? yea right! this is another reason you shouldn't trust parts of the Govt. look what Nam did for the American troops,Agent Orange,all kinds of good things,Anthrax shots in gulf war that guys are still fighting with the Govt. over because they say their rashes and sores are not related to the shots,I really don't have to continue do I? One other thing,I suppose you enlisted to go to Nam? another lie.

jas

Something is seriously wrong with our political system when the will of an overwhelming majority of the people is blocked by a vocal and well financed minority. Say goodbye to your Senate seat, Mr. Portman. We, the PEOPLE, will not forget at election time.

hit the road jack

Just where in the hell do you people get this majority chit from? obie? your not very smart if you didn't hear that the democrats are the one's afraid of losing their seats by voting for the new law they wanted to pass,if you want to cry with the democrats,move to erie co. where all the rest of the whiners are.

betrump

Once again, for the dummies:
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.

hit the road jack

You and your idiot buddies need to learn some definitions on guns pal,assault guns are automatics and thus illegal to own anyway, so you don't need legislation,and a majority may be in favor of a background check(the one we already have)but not the one the dumocrats are pushing.
People might not be so against this if homeland security would delete the names of gun buyers like their supposed to instead of making a purchase history of someone to be stored on their computers.

betrump

The only ones that should be afraid of a registry are terrorists, criminals, and the crazies. So which are you?

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