Senate Deals Setback to Gun Bill in Vote on Background Checks

Gun Amendment Votes on Capitol Hill
Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) chat about about gun control legislation in the Capitol in Washington. (Jim Lo Scalzo / EPA / April 17, 2013)

WASHINGTON – An amendment to expand background check requirements to include most commercial sales failed Wednesday in the Senate, a significant setback to gun legislation developed in response to the Newtown, Conn., school shootings.

The measure, negotiated by Sens. Joe Manchin III (D-W. Va.) and Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.), fell short of the 60 votes that it needed to be adopted under an agreement between the Senate’s leaders.

[Updated, 2:04 p.m. April 17: The final vote was, 54-46, after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) switched his vote to no, a procedural move that allows him to bring the measure up for another vote.

Four Republicans – Toomey, Susan Collins (Maine), Mark Steven Kirk (Ill.) and John McCain – voted for the background check expansion, while Reid and four Democrats – Max Baucus (Mt.), Mark Begich (Alaska), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Mark Pryor (Ark.) – voted against it. The four Democrats besides Reid are all from red states. Baucus, Begich and Pryor are up for reelection next year in their states.]


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