As expected, the Senate today rejected a bipartisan effort to expand federal background checks on gun purchasers. An attempt to ban assault-style weapons and a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines were also rejected in a series of showdown votes four months after the Newtown rampage. The background check measure commanded a majority of senators, 54-46, but that was well short of the 60 votes needed to advance. Some of the parents of the Sandy Hook victims watched the votes from the spectators' gallery that rings the Senate floor. They were joined by relatives of victims of other mass shootings in Arizona, Virginia, and Colorado. “Shame on you!” at least two women shouted, reports the Washington Post.
The proposal would have required background checks for all transactions at gun shows and online. Currently they must occur for sales handled by licensed gun dealers. Only four Republicans voted in favor of the measure, while five Democrats voted against it, reports the Hill. The Democrats in opposition were Mark Pryor, Max Baucus, Heidi Heitkamp, and Mark Begich. Harry Reid also voted no, but only as a parliamentary maneuver that would allow him to bring up the measure again. The Republicans who bucked their party were co-sponsor Pat Toomey, John McCain, Susan Collins, and Mark Kirk. (Read more Joe Manchin stories.)