Blow to Obama as US Senate defeats gun control bill

 

The US Senate has voted against new legislation to expand background checks for gun purchasers, dealing a blow to President Barack Obama's hopes of gun control reform after the school shootings at Sandy Hook in December.

An angry Obama, surrounded by shooting victims and families of victims, said the powerful gun control lobby "willfully lied" to the American people.

"All in all, this was a pretty shameful day for Washington," the president said. "Who are we here to represent?"

Several amendments to a gun control bill went to the Senate floor, including bans on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips, but the key proposal was a bipartisan compromise calling for background checks to be mandatory for any firearms sales conducted online or at gun shows.

Fifty-four Senators voted in favour of the proposal to 46 against, but the amendment required 60 votes to pass. The poll was presided over by US-President Joe Biden, who has led the Obama administration's lobbying effort to secure new firearms legislation.

Among those present to watch the defeat were families of those killed in mass shootings at Sandy Hook; at Aurora, Colorado; at Tucson and at Virginia Tech. The result was greeted by a cry of "Shame on you!" from the public gallery.

The defeated amendment was crafted by Republican Senator Patrick Toomey, and Democrat Joe Manchin, who addressed a near-empty Senate chamber prior to the vote. Mr Manchin, a hunter and gun owner who was previously awarded an "A" rating by the National Rifle Association (NRA), criticised the gun lobby for having spread misinformation about the proposal. This week the NRA reportedly spent $500,000 (£328,000) on internet advertising in a bid to crush the bill. The ad, which ran on news websites, suggested the legislation would have no effect on crime.

Democrat Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, voiced support for an assault weapons ban, despite his own longstanding and close relationship with the NRA, saying Second Amendment activists had used "shameful scare tactics" to derail the bill. In an emotional appeal to the Senate before the vote, Mr Reid said: "The American people have a long, long memory. To vote against something that 90 per cent of the American people want, the American people aren't going to forget about that."

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a leading gun control advocate, described the defeat as a "damning indictment of the stranglehold that special interests have on Washington".

A version of the bill may yet be revived in the future, Senate leaders suggested, given public support for new gun control measures.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea