Senate Votes to Allow Gun Debate
But fight could last weeks
By Mark Russell, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2013 7:59 AM CDT
Updated Apr 11, 2013 11:02 AM CDT
A rack of AR-15 rifles stand to be individually packaged as workers move a pallet of rifles for shipment at the Stag Arms company in New Britain, Conn., Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

(Newser) – The Senate's gun control bill cleared its first major hurdle today, as the chamber voted 68-31 to begin debate, defeating at least the first attempt to filibuster the bill. Sixteen Republicans joined 52 Democrats in voting to begin debate, the Washington Post reports, while two Democrats voted against. But despite the encouraging vote—and a bipartisan compromise on background checks—don't expect smooth sailing; the Hill expects the debate to last weeks. Here's what you need to know:

  • The NRA came out with a statement last night saying it is "unequivocally opposed" to the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013, and specifically called out the "misguided 'compromise' proposal drafted by Senators Joe Manchin, Pat Toomey, and Chuck Schumer," reports the Huffington Post.

  • The public is "far ahead" of politicians on gun control, said VP Joe Biden in a Morning Joe appearance today, per Politico. "You saw it in immigration, marriage issues, you’re seeing it now. The public has moved to a different place."
  • Case in point: 91% of military veterans support background checks, according to a survey by one liberal group, reports Politico. Vets also support banning high-capacity ammunition magazines (61%), and 58% favor banning assault-style weapons.
  • This marks the first time "in a generation" that a meaty gun measure has hit the floor, reports the Los Angeles Times. Senate officials say gun rights advocates plan to take a similar tack as last time: Stretch out the debate on amendments, particularly ones that would broaden gun owners' rights; hope Democrats running next year in conservative states back them; then hope so many of those amendments pass that gun control advocates sour on the bill.

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Apr 11, 2013 8:22 PM CDT
Sounds like the demographics of the country are catching up with the Republican Party. When you got 91% of military veterans supporting background checks, 61% against high-capacity magazines, & 58% for banning assault-style weapons while the majority of Republicans in Congress are opposed to all of that, Houston, we've got a problem.
Apr 11, 2013 6:36 PM CDT
16 RINOs joined with democRats to concoct a way to lay The Bill of Rights at the feet of a despot. For those RINOs it's all in the perception...The perception about how they are going to look to people who take their own Rights for granted and focus on inanimate objects like they're participating in a Salem Witch Hunt. Constitutional Rights came from battlefields where good men gave all. No children for them, no future for them. That is only if a history illiterate, ungrateful society comes along and forgets their sacrifice. And it appears they have.
Apr 11, 2013 5:40 PM CDT
So ignorant are those mealy mouth anti-gun zealots that they do not realize that closing one door always opens another. Before that Rat bill clintoon came along guns were much more available and for the most part out of sight and out of mind. But after hop-a-long bill clintoon decided gun control was an answer and fix all for crime gun sales rocketed. And when America witnessed Waco burned at the hands of a scheming "photo op" government using expendable "children" as charcoal enough was enough...obviously. The same self-serving Rats dragging around the 20 corpses of little school kids to get at The Bill of Rights were silent when children were burned alive in Waco...silent. The fact is a perp doesn't need an AR15 to kill a bunch of people when they can have at their fingertips a 3000 lb. projectile capable of plowing through a line of people waiting to see a movie...or for some just for the heck of it at a school crossing, etc. Obviously this society is nothing short of those void of honor, void of integrity and void of respect for The Constitutional Rights of others. In other words decent people are caught between an obamanation and loughner, holmes, lanza et al.