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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

US Senate rejects background check amendment

The U.S. Senate rejected Wednesday amendments to gun legislation, which includes a bipartisan measure to expand background checks.The background checks amendment – proposed by Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa. – would have expanded existing background checks to gun shows and online sales. The Senate also struck down amendments including a ban on high-capacity magazines and a ban on assault rifles.Because it was a bipartisan effort, the background check amendment was seen as the key to passing legislation to address gun violence after recent mass shootings. The measure failed 54-46, six votes shy of the required 60.
“The government shouldn’t punish or harass law-abiding citizens in the exercise of their Second Amendment rights,” said Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell.
Because of the cooperation between the two parties to draft a background check agreement, some thought the bill would pass. When it didn’t, Toomey released a statement saying it was time to move on.“I sought out a compromise position that I thought could move the ball forward on an important matter of public safety,” Toomey said in a press release. “My only regret is that our amendment did not pass. It’s not the outcome I hoped for, but the Senate has spoken on the subject, and it’s time to move on.”Amber Mercier, senior international studies major, said the amendment was a good idea, but would have been a trivial attempt to curb gun violence.”This is a good idea, but at the end of the day it is not going to stop people from buying guns,” Mercier said. “I understand the government wants to stop gun violence, everyone does, but you can’t control people’s actions. Evil people are going to do what they want and sadly it is hard to stop them.”Earlier in the week, Vice President Joe Biden and other Democrats attempted to rally support for the amendment from both sides of the aisle. Former Democratic U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, who was severely wounded in a 2011 shooting, traveled to the capitol to lobby for the Manchin-Toomey amendment. After the vote, Giffords expressed her discontent via Twitter.”Senate ignored will of the people and rejected background checks,” she tweeted. “I’m not giving up. Constituents will know they obeyed gun lobby and not them.”After the Senate convened, Rep. Giffords and family members of the Newtown victims joined President Barack Obama at the White House for a press conference. Obama expressed his dissatisfaction with the results of Wednesday’s vote and said it was “a pretty shameful day for Washington.”President Obama continued, saying the “gun lobby and its allies willfully lied” to discourage support for the amendment, and many Democrats “caved to the pressure.””Most of these senators could not offer any good reason why we wouldn’t want to make it harder for criminals and those with severe mental illnesses to buy a gun,” Obama said. “There were no coherent arguments as to why we wouldn’t do this. It came down to politics – the worry that the vocal minority of gun owners would come after them in future elections.”The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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