Senate to start votes on gun bill on Wednesday
April 16th, 2013
08:59 PM ET
1 year ago

Senate to start votes on gun bill on Wednesday

Washington (CNN) - The U.S. Senate will begin voting on amendments to gun legislation on Wednesday, including the leading proposals for tighter restrictions spurred by the Connecticut school massacre in December.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the list of first votes would include the bipartisan yet controversial agreement on expanding background checks proposed by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pennsylvania.

Also up in the first round will be Sen. Dianne Feinstein's proposed to ban the sale of semiautomatic firearms modeled after military style assault weapons.

President Barack Obama and many Democrats support a renewed assault weapons ban and an expansion of background checks as well as other measures before the Democratic-led Senate.

A proposal by Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas on a proposal to make
state concealed weapons permits acceptable throughout the country will also be considered.
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Other votes include a bipartisan amendment dealing with mental health and five other measures.

Each amendment needs 60 votes to pass and the first votes will start in the late afternoon.

Debate on the Senate gun bill is expected to last at least two weeks.

The drive for tougher gun control was spurred by the massacre of school children and educators by a lone gunman in the quiet community of Newtown, Connecticut, just before Christmas.

Polls since show a preference among Americans for some type of initiative to stem gun violence.

Obama and others also have been highlighting daily gun violence in America in their appeal to lawmakers for stricter limits.

Many in Washington have coalesced around expanding background checks conducted on gun sales by the FBI. But settling on the exact wording of such a step has been difficult in a sharply divided political climate.

While Democratic leaders are expressing optimism they'll get enough votes to pass the Manchin-Toomey amendment, a CNN tally of senators indicates the measure is probably in trouble unless several undecided Democrats and Republicans – mostly from conservative states – throw their support behind it.

The proposal would extend background checks to include gun shows and Internet sales.

Reid said last month that Feinstein's proposal, which was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on a Democratic party-line vote, has no chance of passage. Yet, he wanted to ensure it received a vote as an amendment rather than join it to a package of measures approved by the panel that would toughen laws on gun trafficking and straw purchases.

The powerful National Rifle Association, the leading advocate on gun rights, fiercely opposes the Feinstein proposal as well as the Manchin-Toomey compromise. It supports the measure on concealed permits.

Speaker John Boehner has said the House would look at anything passed by the Senate, but is not committing to any plan or votes.


Filed under: Gun control • Gun rights • Harry Reid • Senate
soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. ThinkAgain: Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. - SCOTUS Justice Antonin Scalia, District of Columbia v. Heller

    Who said the following:

    1. This is a matter of vital importance to the public safety ... While we recognize that assault-weapon legislation will not stop all assault-weapon crime, statistics prove that we can dry up the supply of these guns, making them less accessible to criminals.

    2. I do not believe in taking away the right of the citizen for sporting, for hunting and so forth, or for home defense. But I do believe that an AK-47, a machine gun, is not a sporting weapon or needed for defense of a home.

    3. Certain forms of ammunition have no legitimate sporting, recreational, or self-defense use and thus should be prohibited.

    4. With the right to bear arms comes a great responsibility to use caution and common sense on handgun purchases.

    Who said this? Ronald Reagan

    1. In a May 3, 1994 letter to the U.S. House of Representatives, which was also signed by Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford.
    2. In a speech at his 78th birthday celebration in Los Angeles on February 6, 1989.
    3. In an August 28, 1986 signing statement on a bill that banned the production and importation of armor-piercing bullets.
    4. In a speech at George Washington University in a on March 29, 1991.

    So all you GOPers out there pining for the "good ol' days of Reagan," now's your chance to honor your hero and demand GOP legislators to pass gun control laws NOW.

    April 16, 2013 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  2. Conservative Liberal

    "Each amendment needs 60 votes to pass." Please explain. Despite assurances that the party leaders gave the public and the reformers at the opening of the session, are they still needing a cloture vote prior to voting on an amendment in this case?

    April 16, 2013 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  3. Taxpaying Voter

    The demand a vote will backfire on the Dems. Thankfully we still have the 2A.

    April 16, 2013 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  4. AceGirlshusband

    I don't quite understand why we need a federal law regarding background checks on internet sales. Here in California you can't get a direct delivery of any gun purchased on the internet. The gun has to be shipped to a local FFL and the buyer has to wait 10 days and undergo background checks before he/she can take possession.

    However, I can see the reasoning behind requiring all private party transactions to be held to scrutiny via background checks. I have no problem with that.

    April 16, 2013 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  5. commonsense

    Next up on the liberals' ban list, cell phones and pressure cookers.

    April 17, 2013 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  6. MOCaseA

    It is obvious, to any who care to look, that Sen. Dianne Feinstein's bill is utter garbage. It was so poorly written that they had to add 100 pages of "exceptions" and even in those exceptions they have weapons like 5.56 Bull-pups, .50 cal semi-automatic rifles, and a whole slew of what could be considered "assault rifles" that don't look like a U.S. Military weapon. Some of them even look like replica TOYS from several popular video games, making it MORE likely that accidental shootings with them can occur. Additionally the bill doesn't take those weapons away, and doesn't prevent a person from building one themselves, it only restrict the direct sale of the weapon by registered dealers! It is a useless bill, poorly written, much amended, and an utter waste of time because it DOES violate he 2nd Amendment.

    April 17, 2013 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  7. Bill

    Well-regulated militia – not just militia – Support Gun control now! Call your Senators.

    April 17, 2013 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  8. North Dallas Don

    Sadly, my senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz will not support any restrictions on gun ownership, nor will the support scaling back the capacity of magazine cartidges, nor additional background checks of potential gun owners. Logic gives cause to believe that Cornyn and Cruz are unaffected by violence. Clearly, the Sandy Hook incident and the senseless deaths of 20 young children meant nothing to either of these callous men. Just as we, as a civilized people, have adopted restrictions on other "rights" so should we on the rights granted by the Second Amendment. The world did not end when we passed laws prohibiting one to use their exercise of free speech for malicious purposes. Not will the world end should we pass laws toward curbing the malicious acts where guns are the primary mechanism. Cornyn and Cruz are two pathetic individuals whose allegiance toward unrestricted gun ownership reveals their absolute lack of any human character.

    April 17, 2013 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  9. Rogue351

    The question no one from the NRA, GOP or the Tea Party has answered is how exactly all of the guns criminals use against the general public ended up on our streets in the first place. If, "Responsible Gun Owners" are truly "Responsible" they would not have sold weapons to people that used them in a crime. They would not have left weapons unsecured in their homes to be stolen by the very people the bought the gun to protect themselves from. The "Responsible Gun Owner" is the very reason we have so many illegal guns on the streets. The people who go out and purchase a gun just because they fear that right is going to be taken away or to make money from selling it if that particular weapon is banned. The weapon is not stored correctly and is stolen or sold to anyone who will buy it when the purchaser get bored with the Glenn Becks, Hannity and Limbaugh of the world. Fear enticed them to buy it and irresponsibility allowed it to either be sold or stolen. There is NO other way so many guns ended up on the streets of the United States and Mexico. From the obscene number of illegal gun removed from the streets "Responsible Gun Owners" are few are far between. Make gun owners responsible for the guns they purchase. The current system is not working. If it was there would be fewer and fewer guns on our streets even when sales increase because they would be taken away from criminals leaving only "Responsible Gun Owners". That is not the case. Back Ground Checks on ALL gun sales. Registration of All guns. Paranoia of the right wing is not going to fix this problem of criminals with guns. Tag all guns with a microchip, if it is missing the gun is destroyed. None of these will infringe on the right of a legal honest truly responsible person second amendment right. Make Responsible Gun Owners Responsible. The honor system has come and gone and it did not work.

    April 17, 2013 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  10. Bob

    I blame Dianne Feinstein for this mess. Had she as well as some of "for profit" anti-gun lobbiests just focused on background checks it would have been a done deal by now. Instead she kicked off the largest gun buying frenzy in US history via her life long gun ban proposals. A sad opportunist. We need to be a lot more careful in following the fanatical types over the cliff next time.

    April 17, 2013 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  11. Binga Linga

    "Speaker John Boehner has said the House would look at anything passed by the Senate, but is not committing to any plan or votes."

    Translation – Dead on Arrival.

    April 17, 2013 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  12. hate to say it

    I dont know about you, but the fact they are trying to push this down peoples throats just as 2 bombs go off in boston smells a little, its been clear all ready that obama doesnt care about anything or anyone other then his agenda, wouldnt be surprised if he wasnt behind boston, to distract people from fighting his unamerican, unconstitutional agendas

    April 17, 2013 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  13. KH

    Why do we need 60 votes to pass anything? The limit is supposed to be 51 votes. This 60 vote thing is an artificial threshold that must be met to stem the threat of a filibuster. Our congress is paralyzed and can't even pass legislation that has the support of nearly the entire country, save a vocal extreme minority.

    April 17, 2013 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  14. TonDef

    I can't believe it. US Senators actually doing their jobs for a change! Some credit is due to the Republican Senators who helped break the filibuster. Whether or not any of this legislation passes, this is what democracy is supposed to look like: lawmakers debating a bill and then voting up or down. Sadly, thanks to the GOP, this process has become like pulling teeth.

    April 17, 2013 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  15. Mark Willows

    Since this is "must have legislation" for the democrats let's add on LIFETIME TERM LIMITS for elected officials. 16 years combined and be gone.

    April 17, 2013 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  16. BeverlyNC

    It certainly would be amazing to see the Senate Republicans pass their first bill for the benefit of the American People since 2008. After 387 filibusters, one principled law for common sense gun safety measures would be as historic as Neil Armstrong's statement "one step for man, one leap for mankind".

    April 17, 2013 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  17. NameKevin coffey

    It is so so sad when people kill people and what's just as sad is employing laws especially on top of existing gun laws that's going to do nothing but puta feather in politicians cap that they did something and put fur

    April 17, 2013 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  18. Practical Californian

    Enforcing existing laws, perform time of sale background checks and mental health checks. Banning guns has proven to be ineffective and criminals ignore the laws. The tragedies all revolved around poor mental health care and flawed individual decision making by relatives. There is no reason to over-react or use the victims as a platform to push anti-gun agendas that the politicians have clearly tried to do before, and now.

    April 17, 2013 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  19. Zondar

    If a proposed law is good, it will be just as desired in 6 months as it is today. If a law is a bad law, driven by emotion instead of logic, those supporting it will try to whip the nation into a frenzy to pass it quickly.

    April 17, 2013 03:41 am at 3:41 am |
  20. Marie MD

    Add cowards to what congress is full of anymore. I truly hope none of them are ever touched by gun violence!

    April 17, 2013 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  21. Guest

    Just say no gun legislation. Stand and Fight. The politicians in .DC. no longer represent the people when they disregard the compass of our nation, the U. S. Constitution.

    April 17, 2013 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  22. Name lynn

    People can vote on guns an gun laws, also back ground check keeping people from getting guns. People will always get guns in their hands, with or without the gun laws an back ground check. How will the people stop all this killing an shooting.

    April 17, 2013 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  23. 82nd ABN VET

    With that many measures to vote on today, I am a bit suprised that they will not be starting until the afternoon.

    I guess they figured that if they didnt have the 60 votes by lunch, they were not going to get them.

    I look forward to seeing who caves to the other side on this issue. There are probably 3-5 Republicans and 2-3 Democrats that will vote against the majority of their party. I still dont think they will have the votes.

    I would be for the background check bill, as long as there was a section highlighted, made bold, in italics and made in CAPITAL LETTERS that absolutely made the creation of a national gun registry illegal, and those that attempted to do such a thing were given an automatic 25 to life prison term. There needs to be no wiggle room in there for any agency, not just the Justice Department in this regard.

    April 17, 2013 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  24. ghostriter

    How bad is it that I want some new laws passed, but not until I get all the hardware I want 1st?

    April 17, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
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