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Senate blocks expanded gun sale background checks

Updated Wednesday, April 17, 2013 | 2:26 p.m.

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U.S. Sen. Harry Reid meets with gun violence survivors after gun control votes in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday, April 17, 2013.

Gun control is effectively over for now, after the Senate failed to muster enough votes to pass a key amendment on expanding sales background checks.

Fifty-four senators voted in favor of the Manchin-Toomey amendment, named after the pair of senators who drafted it, which would have required background checks for all public gun sales, including at gun shows and online.

It was a softer proposal than the underlying bill, which would have also required background checks for private sales.

But most Republicans and some Democrats still worried that the information collected through expanded background checks could lead to a gun registry.

Earlier Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Harry Reid criticized such senators, including Nevada’s Dean Heller, for raising objections based on the potential for gun registries, calling such reasoning “absolutely false, untrue, and it’s unfair.”

The proposed amendment “not only bans a registry, but it creates a 15-year felony sentence for any government official found storing these gun records,” Reid said. “Claims that this legislation would create a gun registry is nothing more than shameful scare tactics.”

Reid and several other senators have spent the week reminding anyone within the sound of their voice that almost 90 percent of American voters support stricter gun control, according to recent polls.

Heller has frequently said he supports more stringent background checks; he just doesn’t like any of the proposals to strengthen them.

The math was always tight on the Manchin-Toomey amendment. Just hours before the vote, Democrats counted themselves, at best, three votes shy of the all-important 60 votes needed to clear a filibuster.

But supporters of the bill were not ready to concede defeat, recommitting themselves to work all the way up to the 5 p.m. vote to convince senators to change their minds.

Leaders even called on Sen. Frank Lautenberg — a strong supporter of gun control — to come back from a long absence he had taken for health reasons. Lautenberg, looking pale and frail, cast a strong “aye” vote for the bill Wednesday afternoon.

But it was not enough to offset the dozens of Republicans who voted against the legislation and the handful of Democrats who joined them — North Dakota’s Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, Montana’s Sen. Max Baucus, Alaska’s Mark Begich and Arkansas’s Mark Pryor.

Reid also changed his vote from yes to no in the final tally, a procedural move that allows him to revive the legislation down the line.

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  1. Halleluiah! Thank You to all the Senators that stood tall and defended our Rights!

  2. I would like to take the opportunity in this comments section to get the word out to all criminals.

    Senator Heller would like to cordially invite you to the next gun show to be held here in Las Vegas. He encourages you to buy as many guns as you can. Don't worry about a background check. Due to his vote today, he helped nix that. Because it's important to Senator Heller that not only God fearing citizens are allowed to buy weapons, but you, as a criminal, are entitled also.

    The gun show background check loophole is still intact here in Nevada, criminals. You got Heller to thank for it.

    And if you ask him nicely, he, along with his NRA goons, will provide a wheelbarrow for you to cart them out of the convention center to your vehicles.

    Due to his vote today, he has confirmed to the people of Nevada that he is in the pockets of the NRA. Bought and paid for. And he is loyal.

    Something is really, really wrong when just about 91 percent of the American people are for background checks, and particularly for Nevada citizens, just about 87 percent of them, and nothing at all happens to reflect the will of the people?

    Our politics are broken. Fractured.

    People can play politics about this all they want, and they can say this is a failure for President Obama, but they are only fooling themselves.

    A failure for this President means it's a failure for the American people.

    By this vote today, the NRA and the pro-gun manufacturer lobby won. They, and all those who voted this legislation down, have basically said that a tragedy like Newton, CT is now the norm. Get used to waking up to see 20 elementary school children, along with six teachers/administrators, BLOWN away to smithereens. Get used to the carnage. Get used to the blood.

    Because the NRA will get its way and people need to die. All due to the fact that guns MUST be sold. Without any kind of common sense gun safety legislation.

    We are now confirmed that we are a violent society. And nobody cares anymore. The way of the gun is absolute.

    This fight isn't over.

    And I, for one, will remember Senator Heller's vote today when the time comes for him to try to seek reelection. I will pull out all the stops and widely disseminate this fact that happened today. He could care less for people. Just the NRA.

  3. Danno states: "...maybe you should lay some of the blame at the feet of Harry. As Senate Majority leader, he didn't do his job engaging his subordinates. He changed his vote less than 24 hours prior to the vote."

    Senate Majority Leader Reid did his best to get this legislation passed. At the time of the vote, there were still quite a few uncommitted/undecided votes. It had a chance of passing.

    But the Senate Majority Leader also, at an earlier time, PROMISED the American people, as well as President Obama, there would be a vote on this matter. And he carried through with that promise today.

    The biggest thing that was done today was, even though this legislation didn't pass, it IDENTIFIED each and every one of the people who need to be voted out for their despicable arrogance at snubbing their noses at the citizens of America. Heller should be ashamed. And he will be held accountable.

    You don't seem to understand, Danno, that Senator Reid, as the Majority Leader in the Senate, had to change his vote at the last moment, as a procedural matter, when the legislation was getting voted down, all in order to be able to bring it up again at a later time. The fight is not over with.

    Nice try at Tea/Republican Party propaganda though... And I understand why you floated that out there. Because the ENTIRE Tea/Republican Party has nothing to stand for except propaganda. Well, they represent the rich too....and no one else.

  4. Thanks, El_Lobo. As you know, the road goes on forever and the party never ends.

    I am beyond disgusted at Senator Heller's vote today. EIGHTY-SEVEN PERCENT of the people of Nevada wanted this bill, even though it was watered down, to pass. He wholeheartedly contributed to making sure it got fillibustered.

    With Senator Heller's vote, he implicitly stated to the people of Nevada that the cities of Carson City, Reno, Las Vegas, Boulder City, Laughlin, and Pahrump, just to name a few, could have their streets awash with foot deep rivers of blood from gun violence caused on the lives of innocents. And he could care less. Because he worships at the altar of the NRA and the pro-gun manufacturers they represent. Because they pay him.

    Senseless violence not only in Nevada, but everywhere in America can continue to happen, but Senator Heller could care less. MONEY, NRA MONEY, is far more important to him.

    He decided to put special interests in front of the people of Nevada's clearly telegraphed wishes. He failed us. INTENTIONALLY. He snubbed his nose at us. HE SPIT ON US.

    I did not vote for Heller. I thought he was nothing before the election and I still thought that up til today.

    But now?

    I consider him scum.

    And I vow to everyone to do everything in my power to contribute nothing less than the complete and utter political DESTRUCTION of Senator Heller.

    What he did today is unconscionable.

    He may get an A plus rating from the NRA, but there is no way he is going to dig himself out of the F minus rating he is going to get from the Nevada voters.

    I'm committed to do everything I can to his political demise. I would prefer he go down in Nevada political history as the worst Senator we've ever had.

    Shame, Senator Heller! SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!

  5. Hypocrites! That what "gun control" advocates are! In the main, they oppose voter "checks" in the form of photo ID's but foam at the mouth in order to restrict a Constitutional right - that of owning firearms. Any "check" on owning a firearm presupposes the buyer intends to do harm to others and flies in the face of "innocent until proven guilty." However, "checks" do meet the Commie-lite agenda of keeping or expanding the power of the state over the citizens. Kudos to the common sense that prevailed among the 46 U.S. Senators and a pox on the other 54!