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Gun control backers: Senate defeat won't stop us

By Alan Fram & David Espo

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 07:27 a.m. HST, Apr 18, 2013

WASHINGTON » One day after the demise of gun control legislation, Senate supporters of the measure vowed to try again, while a leading opponent accused President Barack Obama of taking the "low road" when he harshly criticized lawmakers who voted against key provisions.

"When good and honest people have honest differences of opinion about what policies the country should pursue about gun rights...the president of the United States should not accuse them of having no coherent arguments or of caving to the pressure," said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas.

The fate of the bill was sealed in a string of votes on Wednesday, when Republicans backed by a small group of rural-state Democrats rejected more extensive background checks for gun purchasers and also torpedoed proposed bans on assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines.

The Senate delivered its verdict four months after a shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., left 20 first graders and six school aides dead. The tragedy prompted Obama to champion an issue that Democrats had largely avoided for two decades, and that he himself ignored during his first term in the White House.

Though the gun control bill was moribund for the foreseeable future, the Senate approved two minor amendments today. One by Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., cutting aid to state and local governments that release information on gun owners, was approved 67-30. Another by Sens. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., bolstering federal mental health programs passed 95-2.

Cornyn said he agreed with Obama that Wednesday had been a shameful day, but added it was because of the president's own comments, rather than the events on the Senate floor.

"He could have taken the high road...instead he chose to take the low road and I agree with him it was a truly shameful day."

Cornyn spoke shortly after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the struggle for tougher gun legislation was not over.

"This is not the end of the fight. Republicans are in an unsustainable position," he said, after voting with few exceptions against a tougher requirement for background checks for gun purchasers, a proposal that shows very high support in most public opinion polls.

Reid offered no timetable for renewing the drive to enact legislation that Obama has placed near the top of his domestic agenda.

Another Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, said the proposed expansion of background checks that he co-authored would have passed easily had it not been for the National Rifle Association's decision to take the vote into account in deciding which candidates to support or oppose in 2014.

"If they hadn't scored it, we'd have had 70 votes," he said. Instead, it drew 54, six short of the 60 needed to advance.

Manchin also told reporters at a breakfast sponsored by the Wall Street Journal that the outcome would have been different if the Senate had acted more quickly after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. "If we'd have gone to a bill like this immediately, boom," he said, predicting it would have received 65-70 votes.

Obama spoke in clipped, angry tones at the White House on Wednesday after the Senate scuttled legislation he had campaign for energetically.

"I see this as just Round One," the president said, flanked by relatives of Newtown's victims and former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head in Tucson, Ariz., in 2011.

Looking ahead to the 2014 congressional elections, he added, "If this Congress refuses to listen to the American people and pass common-sense gun legislation, then the real impact is going to have to come from the voters."

Obama blamed lawmakers' fear that "the gun lobby would spend a lot of money" and accuse them of opposing the Second Amendment's right to bear arms.

A spokesman, Josh earnest, told reporters today, "we're pretty close to a consensus on this just about everywhere except in the United States Congress. And as the President alluded to yesterday, I think that is an indication of the pernicious influence that some special interests have in the United States Congress. And that is going to require a vocalization of public opinion to overcome it."

Emotions were high on Wednesday at the Capitol.

When the background check amendment failed in the Senate, Patricia Maisch, watching from a visitors' gallery, shouted "Shame on you!" Maisch helped restrain the gunman at the 2011 Tucson shooting in which six people died and 13, including Giffords, were wounded.

Associated Press writers Donna Cassata, Laurie Kellman, Richard Lardner and Andrew Taylor contributed to this report.

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ross13moon wrote:
What does it take? More dead children?
on April 18,2013 | 07:31AM
thepartyfirst wrote:
Why do you say dead children?
on April 18,2013 | 07:35AM
ross13moon wrote:
Really? Been living under a rock?
on April 18,2013 | 07:51AM
thepartyfirst wrote:
No. Seems like the state run media and the Left especially the far Left have their agenda in-graded in your brain. True to their mantra, the Left always take a crisis and use it to further their agenda. It is their wish that only those in authority would be armed and not the common folk. Guns do not kill people, idiots with guns do. There is a genuine reason why the Constitution Framers provided the Second Amendment. How would you fight against tyranny? We all have a right to bear arms.
on April 18,2013 | 08:34AM
808ikea wrote:
I don't think the amendment prevents your right to bear arms. It does however provide for more extensive background checks to prevent "idiots" from obtaining a gun and it also place a ban on assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines.
on April 18,2013 | 09:04AM
saveparadise wrote:
Well said. An ineffective and soft judicial system is killing society. We have criminals with multiple convictions running around everywhere. Why? Why do we have groups like the ACLU protecting the rights of criminals and totally disregarding the victims. Then we have those that illusion themselves into thinking that creating more laws that effect no one but legal law abiding citizens will protect them. If the cops catch the bad guys then put these criminals and crazies where they belong and keep them there. Punishment MUST fit the crimes! Wake up and smell the coffee!
on April 18,2013 | 09:10AM
sluggah wrote:
Not to mention the ACLU cleaning the mental institutions in the '80s. Hello crazies.
on April 18,2013 | 09:38AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
I had to laugh at a tee shirt I saw. Picture of Chuck Norris with the legend "Guns don't kill people; I kill people." The Chuckster meme lives on...
on April 18,2013 | 09:40AM
ross13moon wrote:
Paranoia: a thought process heavily influenced by anxiety or fear, often to the point of irrationality and delusion...also, denial is a river in Egypt...no guns, no shooting, no killing...just the idiots...You also practice Constitutional Law?
on April 18,2013 | 09:39AM
sluggah wrote:
Standard practice of the left, rather than address the issues, just name calling and inane comments. It seems to work well for our "Dear Leader', though. Accuse the accuser is an Alinsky tactic.
on April 18,2013 | 12:39PM
ross13moon wrote:
...and the killing continues
on April 18,2013 | 01:13PM
Publicbraddah wrote:
SA has a nice picture in today's edition of a man labelled NRA holding a spine (backbone) of the Senate. Says it all. America has never been controlled by its people, only by big interests/corporations/etc.
on April 18,2013 | 07:34AM
hanalei395 wrote:
Republicans and Red State Dems are following the orders of their sponsor, the NRA, and pandering for votes from gun nuts.
on April 18,2013 | 10:19AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Ineffective legislation, political grandstanding and sheer blundering by elected representatives leads to rejection. No surprise there. Maybe we could get Biden to tell us to shoot shotguns into the night. Maybe we could get an explanation why 10 bullets good, 15 bullets bad. Maybe we could get an explanation of what is being done to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and crazies who don't obey law anyway. Blame the results on miserable performances by your politicians.
on April 18,2013 | 07:51AM
sluggah wrote:
None of the proposed resolutions would have prevented Newtown. The Mom owned the guns, he killed his Mom, stole the guns and did the crime. He should have been institutionalized.
on April 18,2013 | 09:40AM
Anonymous wrote:
In case anyone needs to be reminded, this is proof that gun control should be mostly a state, not federal, issue. It is insane to think that rules for mid-town Manhattan should apply, for example, to rural Alaska.
on April 18,2013 | 10:18AM
bender wrote:
Funny you should mention Alaska. I regularly watch Alaskan State Treeopers on TV and it is disturbing to see so many unstable people with the right to own and carry concealed firearms, and I'm not talking about the troopers.
on April 18,2013 | 10:33AM
cojef wrote:
Blame Obama for politicizing the tragedy by inviting the victims' families to the White House during the legislation sessions rather than soon after the incident, hoping to influence the Senators. The victims families were used as political pawns.
on April 18,2013 | 10:50AM
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