Senate showdown vote on gun curbs set for Thursday

Leading Democrat calls for decision.
Associated Press
Apr 10, 2013

The Senate's top Democrat has set Congress' first showdown vote for Thursday on President Barack Obama's gun control drive as a small but mounting number of Republicans appear willing to buck a conservative effort to prevent debate from even beginning.

Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada announced his decision Tuesday as the White House, congressional Democrats and relatives of the victims of December's mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., amped up pressure on GOP lawmakers to allow debate and votes on gun control proposals. Twenty first-graders and six educators were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School, turning gun control into a top-tier national issue.

Meanwhile, participants from both parties said a bipartisan deal was imminent on expanding required federal background checks to gun purchases conducted at gun shows and online. The two chief negotiators, Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., were expected to announce the compromise on Wednesday.

Manchin and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters late Tuesday that a deal was close. A Toomey aide said the same, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss closed-door bargaining.

An agreement on background checks — the cornerstone of Obama's plan to restrict firearms — could boost bipartisan support for the overall effort, at least initially, because Manchin and Toomey are among their parties' most conservative members. But the ultimate fate of gun legislation remains unclear, clouded by opposition from many Republicans and moderate Democrats in the Democratic-led Senate and the GOP-run House.

The emerging deal would expand required federal background checks to sales at gun shows and online, but exempt transactions like face-to-face, non-commercial purchases, said several Senate aides and lobbyists who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the private talks.

Currently, the checks are required only for sales through licensed gun dealers.

On the Senate floor, Reid pointed to a poster-sized photo of a white picket fence that had slats bearing the names of the Newtown victims.

"We have a responsibility to safeguard these little kids," said Reid, D-Nev. "And unless we do something more than what's the law today, we have failed."

"We don't have the guts to stand up and vote yes or no? We want to vote maybe? Tell that to the families in Newtown" and other communities where there have been mass shootings, said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.

But Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, one of 13 conservative senators who signed a letter promising to try blocking debate, said the Senate bill puts "burdens on law abiding citizens exercising a constitutional right." He said none of its provisions "would have done anything to prevent the horrible tragedy of Sandy Hook."

Obama was calling senators from both parties Tuesday to push for the gun bill, according to a White House official.

A Senate vote to begin debating the guns package would mark a temporary victory for Obama and his allies.

Some Republicans, though eager to avoid blocking debate, could vote against the measure on final passage. Coupled with resistance by leaders of the GOP-run House to main parts of Obama's effort — including bans on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines — the ultimate outcome seems shaky for Democrats.

Reid said he did not know if he had the 60 votes he will need to defeat the conservatives' roadblock. But at least eight Republicans have said they want to begin debate or have indicated a willingness to consider it: Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Susan Collins of Maine, Roy Blunt of Missouri and Mark Kirk of Illinois.

But some moderate Democrats are remaining noncommittal and might oppose opening the gun debate, including Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska and Mark Pryor of Arkansas, who are seeking re-election next year.

Begich declined to directly state his position and said of Alaskans, "We like our guns."

There are 53 Senate Democrats and two independents who lean Democratic.

In a written statement, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said conservatives want to prevent Obama from rushing the legislation through Congress "because he knows that as Americans begin to find out what is in the bill, they will oppose it."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said he will join the conservatives' attempt to block debate.

The bill would expand required federal background checks to nearly all gun transactions — a provision Reid would try to replace with the completed agreement between Manchin and Toomey. It would also stiffen penalties for illegal firearms trafficking and provide a small boost in school safety aid.

Eleven Sandy Hook family members representing eight of the shooting victims were on Capitol Hill to lobby senators from both parties for gun legislation, including Isakson.

"We bring a very personal perspective," said Mark Barden, who lost his 7-year-old son, Daniel. "People should listen to what we have to say and move the debate forward. It's not just about our tragedy. Lots of kids are killed every day in this nation. We have to help lead the change."

Some relatives had breakfast with Vice President Joe Biden at his residence in the Naval Observatory. Later, Biden spoke to law enforcement officials at the White House and told reporters that conservatives would not succeed in blocking debate.

"This is not one of these votes that they block a vote and somehow we're going to go away," Biden said. "The American public will not stand for it."

The president's gun-control proposals have hit opposition from the National Rifle Association, which was using the Internet and emails to urge its members — it claims nearly 5 million — to tell members of Congress of their opposition.

In GOP-heavy Louisiana, where Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu is seeking re-election next year, the NRA wrote to its members, "Please contact Senator Landrieu and encourage her to oppose this anti-freedom legislation."

Counteracting that has been an effort by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, one of whose leaders is billionaire New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The group was running a television ad in Pennsylvania asking voters to contact Toomey and tell him to back expanded background checks. It also said it will keep track of key gun-related congressional roll calls and make the information available to voters and contributors — a tactic long used by the NRA and other groups.

___

Associated Press writers Nedra Pickler, Jim Abrams, Andrew Miga and Henry C. Jackson contributed to this report.

 

Comments

mikel

according to fbi data there were more murders committed in 2011 by hammers than guns! where is the ban on hammers?

not hearing a whole lot on the crazy dude that sliced 14-15 people yesterday with an exacto knife. is that next?

it is not the weapon rather the user.

KnuckleDragger

Let 'em vote, it will go down in a ball of fire in the house anyway, that is, if it even gets past the Senate.

your babies Daddy's picture
your babies Daddy

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

looking around

@Mikel in the case of mass murders, it appears the assault type weapon has always been a favorite choice among those who perpetrate these crimes. I never heard of a mass murderer going after a crowd with a hammer, it doesn't even go with his para military outfit often chosen as the uniform of the day when launching these attacks.

4shizzle

mikel doesn't get it.

mikel

apparently the people killed by those hammers didn't get it either did they foshiz! dead is dead.

i can blast through the clips in my handgun as quick as an assult rifle and it only takes a second to switch clips.

again, as stated, it is the people not the weapon.

4shizzle

Heads up, master blaster:
Can you fire 154 bullets in 5 minutes that way while running around a school?
I don't think so.

The time delay to switch would be time enough to take you out.

It's about assault rifles and large magazines.
Ever hear of a mass murder caused by a handgun? I haven't.

Again, as stated: mikel doesn't get it.

Fromthe419

Are you referring to the 154 rounds fired at Newtown? Not one of them was fired with an assault rifle. The liberal left reported they were all shot with assault rifles, but when the facts came out it was not true.
beforeitsnews.com/.../cbs-nbc-abc-admit-no-assault-rifle-used-at-sand...

And YES, I get it, guns don't kill people, people kill people. We need to have better mental health care in the U.S. I am not against universal background checks, but I am against any new law that violates the Constitution. Our founding father's had it right.

4shizzle

That's right,

You are one of those crackpots who said the Newtown massacre never happened-- it was all fake staged by the liberal left.

Right, Fromthe419? It never really happened?

Fromthe419

Typical liberal response, when faced with facts attack the messenger rather than debate the message. The facts are we need more investment in mental health issues (see a conservative can say invest/tax) and not more gun laws on the books. Enforce the laws that are already in place, which we are currently not doing. While I accept the fact that the tragedy actually happened the fact is as Rahm Emanuel stated..."Never let let a serious crisis go to waste." ;)

4shizzle

MAYBE you have realized that you were stupid.
How you could have doubted at all is scary.
(Oh! the Liberals staged the whole thing just to give them a reason to take away our precious guns).

vicariouslyAlive

Considering that both of my guns have the capability of accepting extend clips, yes it is possible to go through that many rounds with a pistol. Recall I bet I could push almost 400 rounds in that time with my .22 and my 9 km in 5 minutes it rounds weren't so expensive and hard to come by... that and I'd be afraid of the heat from doing something like that causing a fault in my gun.

4shizzel, you seem to be trying g to talk about things you know very little about. Not only are pistols just as capable of pushing as many roundds as assault rifles, because both are semi automatic, not one single round was fired in new town from any sort of rifle. Lastly, in the column line shooting not assault rifles were used, they used shotguns, and in that Illinois shooting just after columbine a hunting rifle was used. Hell, even Kennedy was shot with a bolt action rifle.... so please tell me again, how many more mass shootings have been committed with assault rifles than with other firearms.

I guess your extremest news forgot to tell you that ar-15's are kinda hard to hide when walking up on a place.... because its quite obvious that you have very limited gun exlierence.

4shizzle

@vicariouslyAlive
Here's some extremist news from the Washington Post:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/lo...
Here's an excerpt taken from that extremist article:

"He shot all of the victims with a Bushmaster .223-caliber XM-15 rifle ..."

Kinda trumps your statements:
"...not one single round was fired in new town from any sort of rifle."
"...I guess your extremest news forgot to tell you that ar-15's are kinda hard to hide when walking up on a place.... because its quite obvious that you have very limited gun exlierence."

I shot Expert with the M-16 and M-14 at Fort Polk, Louisiana.So I have a little knowledge but I don't give a damn what you say.

It's quite obvious that you have very limited school exlierence (experience) and you play with your gun too much.

FYI- the Washington Post is not an " extremest" paper.

arnmcrmn

4 drizzle.....you asked if we have ever heard of a mass murder caused by a handgun? I do and it happened almost 6 years ago to this date. Obviously you don't remember Virginia Tech or just are spouting off without facts once again.

Virginia Tech shooting was the deadliest mass murder to date in America killing 32 people and injuring another 17.
Choice of guns...a .22-caliber Walther P22 semi-automatic HANDGUN and a 9 mm semi-automatic Glock 19 HANDGUN. A 15 round mag in the Glock and a 10 round mag in the Walther.....HARDLY high ammunition rounds.

Again, facts before you post.

4shizzle

@arnmcrmn

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vir...

I never said there wasn't.

"Choice of guns...a .22-caliber Walther P22 semi-automatic HANDGUN and a 9 mm semi-automatic Glock 19 HANDGUN. A 15 round mag in the Glock and a 10 round mag in the Walther.....HARDLY high ammunition rounds."
-- and at least 400 rounds more if you read article.

Nah! All that? It won't hurt anybody, hardly.

(yeah, I changed it )

arnmcrmn

Yeah, I guess you said you never heard of a mass murder from a handgun.....derp read below.

4shizzle
WED, 04/10/2013 - 11:50AM
Heads up, master blaster:
Can you fire 154 bullets in 5 minutes that way while running around a school?
I don't think so.

The time delay to switch would be time enough to take you out.

It's about assault rifles and large magazines.
Ever hear of a mass murder caused by a handgun? I haven't.

Again, as stated: mikel doesn't get it.

4shizzle

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

vicariouslyAlive

You more or less just now proved that you are too uninformed about this topic to be able to hold a credible opinion. Thanks for doing the hard work of everyone having to prove that for us. By the way, some glocks are capable of being fully automatic and also capable of holding 100 round clips. The walther used in the va shooting is also capable of holding a 100 clip... so the argument that assault rifles are more dangerous than pistols is a falcity. Yes, they look more intimidating, but all the numbers show that hand guns are the threat....

Here's a hint, before you spout off all you know about something, try and make it seem like you actually know something at all.

4shizzle

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

4shizzle

@vicariouslyAlive

I'm uncredible huh? LOL!

vicariouslyAlive

its funny how the WASHINGTON post goes against the corners report to back the president's stance in WASHINGTON... silly thing really.

but what's really funny is how you can believe an article that's been proven false many many times over... but also the fact that the article tries to show that everyone involved lacked any sort of common sense to further back up the presidents views... an emotionally unstable kid with open access to guns? really? you expect rational people to believe that although books that were found about his disorder, showing some forsight as to what to worry about and look out for in the future were also located in the same house with an unlocked gun safe? you people really are touched in the head. if the people living there were really that ignorant they wouldnt have looked into the disorder and read the books and then gone back and just ignored everything they read...

c'mon now... i know you extremist have to cop to a bunch of crap from time to time, but this one's gotta take the cake here.

4shizzle

"...what's really funny is how you can believe an article that's been proven false many many times over..."

Prove it many many times over.
I'll settle for many.

arnmcrmn

@drizzle.....you haven't heard and you were implying that it never happened. So I informed your weak stuff. Try again buddy.

4shizzle

@aclownman
I meant what I said.

bullydogs1971

the biggest mass murders in all of history is by far....wait for it.....wait for it....GOVERNMENT! and you want us to believe we will be a safer people if these guns are banned....the very same guns the .....wait for it....wait for it....the GOVERNMENT HAVE! I was in the military and they tried to get me to mass murder all those men women and little children in Iraq.....i REFUSED!...oh and btw the criminals dont give a crap about your gun laws...they will still have em. Only law abiding citizens will be stripped of they're rifle. How much more of our Constitution do you want to shred!

Nor'easter

All of the mass murders have been committed by people who were recognized by health professionals as having emotional or mental issues. Because of HIPAA (Health Information Protection & Portability Act of 1996 signed by Bill Clinton) passed by Congress, the health people are forbidden to speak up unless the patient gives permission under the Federal penalties of Fines, Prison, and automatic loss of their profession. Get rid of HIPAA and they could have communicated and prevented these mass murders.

deertracker

You don't get it either!

YAWWNN

Actually, you don't. We aren't allowed to say anything about a patients health condition. On that note, many of these people were pink slipped into a mental facility, or in other words under a judicial hold. Judicial holds are a matter of public record. So therein lies the problem, there needs to be a mechanism where these judicial holds are entered into a federal database if the person has been found to be mentally defective. Right now, no such mechanism exists.

deertracker

NO, you really don't! Many of what people? Who was "pink slipped? Just because you may have mental issues, is no reason to put you in a database. You sound RIDICULOUS! All people want are universal background checks. What is so wrong with that? I am sure there are gun owners out there that may have mental issues. That in no way means they are going to commit mass murder. I am a gun owner and I am not concerned about any background check or mental health evaluation.

KnuckleDragger

Your ignorance is showing!!! Have you read the bill? Read it, you are RIDICULOUS! Putting these people in a database is exactly what the federal govt is going to do. In addition, they will decide which mental health conditions will disqualify you from purchasing a gun. If you were ever down in the dumps and went to get help because you felt like hurting yourself, the govt will consider you a danger and you will not be able to buy a gun. Also in the bill, they exempt Police with PTSD from losing their rights, but if you are a veteran with PTSD, your outta luck, your gun rights are gone. Your lucky, because ignorance isn't one of the criteria for taking away your gun rights.

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