The gun control amendment sponsored by Senators Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey died in the Senate today. Several Democrats, including Harry Reid, voted against it, while four Republicans (Toomey, McCain, Collins and Kirk) voted for it. This doesn’t mean the Democrats are finished with gun control, but it does mean it’s going to be a lot tougher for them to get anything passed.
Democrats felt confident the compromise could pass once Toomey, a Republican with an A rating from the National Rifle Association, signed on. They were caught off guard by the vigorous lobbying campaign waged by the NRA, which warned lawmakers that Manchin-Toomey would be factored in its congressional scorecard.
What appeared to be a likely victory for Obama was resoundingly defeated by the Senate as jittery Democrats facing tough re-elections next year joined nearly the entire Republican conference.
The NRA released a statement immediately after the vote that said the measure would have “criminalized certain private transfers of firearms between honest citizens.”
“As we have noted previously, expanding background checks, at gun shows or elsewhere, will not reduce violent crime or keep our kids safe in their schools,” NRA executive director Chris Cox said in a statement.
Now Democratic leaders will have to overhaul the pending gun-control bill to give it a chance of passing the Senate in diminished form.
The failure of Manchin-Toomey means the broader bill still includes Democratic language passed by the Judiciary Committee to establish universal background checks. That language failed to attract a single Republican vote during the panel markup and conservative Democrats such as Manchin and Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) have said they cannot support the package without changes to the language on background checks. (Read More)
In related news, Republican Senators Chuck Grassley and Ted Cruz introduced a bill of their own today that “will increase criminal prosecutions of felons who try to buy guns, criminalize straw purchasing and gun trafficking, and address mental health issues,” according to Cruz. That bill has 20 cosponsors, including Senators Graham and Coats. There’s no word yet on whether the bill saw a vote.