Senate Blocks Expanded Gun Sale Background Checks

BY Associated Press  April 17, 2013 at 4:54 PM EST

President Barack Obama expressed frustration Wednesday following the Senate defeat of the Manchin-Toomey amendment, which would have expanded background checks. Obama was introduced by Mark Barden, the father of Sandy Hook victim Daniel Barden.

WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans, backed by rural-state Democrats, blocked legislation Wednesday to tighten restrictions on the sale of firearms, rejecting personal pleas made by families of the victims of last winter’s mass elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

Attempts to ban assault-style rifles and high capacity ammunition magazines also faced certain defeat in a series of showdown votes four months after a gunman killed 20 elementary school children and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary.

The background check measure commanded a majority of senators, 54-46, but that was well short of the 60 votes needed to advance. Forty-one Republicans and five Democrats sided together to scuttle the plan.

The White House says President Barack Obama will deliver a statement on reducing gun violence Wednesday after a vote to expand background checks failed in the Senate.

The Senate vote was a major blow to Obama’s push on gun control. Expanding background checks was the focal point of Obama’s proposals drafted after the December shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.

Vice President Joe Biden said just before the vote that tighter gun control measures will eventually pass, suggesting the White House wouldn’t abandon its push even though the vote appeared headed toward failure.

Here’s the basic layout of the series of votes expected to begin Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET. Each needs 60 votes to pass.

  • DEFEATED: Manchin-Toomey amendment on background checks

  • DEFEATED: Leahy-Collins amendment to increase public safety by punishing and deterring firearms trafficking.

  • DEFEATED: Sen. John Cornyn’s amendment “to allow reciprocity for the carrying of certain concealed firearms.”

  • DEFEATED: Feinstein amendment to regulate assault weapons, to ensure that the right to keep and bear arms is not unlimited, and for other purposes.

  • DEFEATED: Sen. Richard Burr’s amendment “to protect the Second Amendment rights of veterans and their families.”

  • DEFEATED: Lautenberg-Blumenthal amendment to regulate large capacity ammunition magazines.

  • PASSED: Barrasso amendment to withhold 5 percent of Community Oriented Policing Services program Federal funding from States and local governments that release sensitive and confidential information on law-abiding gun owners and victims of domestic violence.

  • PASSED: Sen. Tom Harkin and Sen. Lamar Alexander’s amendment relative to mental health.

Senate continues to vote on the amendments Thursday at noon, a total of nine to the bill.