- Pope Francis wins another ‘Person of the Year’ — from gay rights magazine
- Rep. Steve Stockman: Give my campaign $10, and you’ll get an Obama barf bag
- Putin: Russia to buy $15 billion in Ukraine bonds
- Expert: Obamacare ‘death spiral’ fears exaggerated
- Alabama firefighters dig for survivors of apartment blast
- Big Sur wildfire destroys home of firefighting chief
- ‘ ’Twas the Night Before Christmas’ set for mock trial to argue authorship
- Angela Merkel’s third term as Germany’s chancellor to be marked by move to left
- Mega Millions entices with record-setting jackpot: Half a billion so far
- Dennis Rodman heads to North Korea — despite execution, political purge
Showdown in the U.S. Senate as hunt for gun-control votes intensifies
Gun control supporters scrambled to find 60 votes to pass expanded background checks on firearms purchases, hoping to sway reluctant senators ahead of a showdown vote.
After spinning its wheels for most of the day Tuesday, the Senate set up a series of gun votes for Wednesday, including what has become the critical fight — a proposal to expand background checks to include all sales at gun shows and over the Internet, though it would exclude person-to-person private sales.
He told reporters earlier Tuesday that gun control supporters were still searching for support, but he felt they had momentum.
“Am I saying it’s all over with, done, we got the votes? No, but we certainly feel we have the wind at our back,” he said.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut Democrat, said the votes offer an opportunity to “keep faith” with the families of the 20 children and six adults killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and the 3,400 victims of gun violence since the tragedy.
“Just as the world has watched Newtown since Dec. 14, Newtown will be watching the U.S. Senate [Wednesday],” he said. “It will mark a critical milestone in the movement to fight gun violence.”
But the delay in voting seemed to signal momentum was on the other side — a sense buttressed by the dwindling number of undecided lawmakers and the growing number of those who say they cannot vote for the background check proposal.
“The majority doesn’t have the votes to pass their own amendment, so we’re not voting,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee. “If we turn to assault weapons or magazines, then it’s clear to all that the majority knows the votes aren’t going to be there.”
The Senate last week agreed to bring the gun bill to the chamber floor, with many Republicans supportive of that move. Since then, however, the bill has stalled and lawmakers have not voted on any amendments.
Earlier in the day, Democrats got a boost from the presence of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Arizona Democrat, who was gravely wounded when a gunman opened fire at an outdoor town hall she was holding in Tucson in 2011. Democrats also heard an emotional plea for action from Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, a co-sponsor of the background check compromise, as well as Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Christopher Murphy of Connecticut and Tim Kaine of Virginia, who was governor of the state at the time of the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007.
The underlying bill has language on background checks that the compromise is supposed to replace.
Other amendments up for a vote Wednesday would ban so-called assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
Mr. Grassley, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and other co-sponsors plan to unveil their substitute amendment Wednesday morning that makes changes to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, provides resources to help address mental health and school safety, protects veterans from false health determinations, and addresses gun trafficking and straw purchasing.
The wide array of amendments could be a double-edged sword for Democrats. Voting against provisions to ban military-style, semi-automatic rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines — measures widely presumed to fail — could give wary senators a chance to shore up their pro-gun bona fides and still vote for expanded background checks.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
David Sherfinski covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at email@example.com.
- Virginia conservative offers solution to bureaucratic nightmare regarding concealed weapons
- House retirements creating pickup opportunities for Democrats and Republicans
- Senate confirms Obama pick Jeh Johnson as Homeland Security secretary
- 75 is the new old: VA DMV study recommends fitness tests for aging drivers
- GOP Rep. Tim Murphy rolls out mental health legislation
Latest Blog Entries
By John R. Bolton
The president fiddles at his domestic altar while the world burns
- PRUDEN: The scam that will not die
- BOLTON: Nero in the White House
- Robert E. Lee and 'Stonewall' Jackson tributes face Army War College removal
- Wasted: Tom Coburn's 'Wastebook targets 70 days in bed, Facebook
- Embassy Row: India strikes back over diplomat's arrest
- Zadzooks: The Joker sixth scale figure review (Sideshow Collectibles)
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Colorado revolt: 55 of 62 sheriffs refuse to enforce new gun laws
- Army to cut up to 4,000 captains and majors
- U.S. downplays Saudi prince's criticism of Obama's Middle East policies
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Television commentary, reviews, news and nonstop DVR catch-up by Lisa King Dolloff and friends.
Wall Street news for retail investors who want to know what's going on.
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow