After the Manchin-Toomey gun legislation failed to pass in the Senate Wednesday afternoon, an angry President Obama appeared in the White House Rose Garden for a speech that clearly showed his frustration over the defeat.
Sens. Joe Manchin, D-WV, and Pat Toomey, R-Penn., lobbied their colleagues for days trying to get the vote count up to the 60 required to pass the legislation that would require the existing background check system be extended to gun shows and online sales.
But the measure failed with the final tally of 54 to 46. According to The Hill, five Democrats voted against it and only four Republicans voted for it.
Democratic Sens. Mark Pryor (Ark.), Max Baucus (Mont.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Mark Begich (Alaska) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) voted against it. Reid supported the measure but voted against it to preserve his ability to bring the measure up again.
GOP Sens. John McCain (Ariz.), Susan Collins (Maine), Pat Toomey (Pa.) and Mark Kirk (Ill.) voted “yes.”
“This amendment would have criminalized certain private transfers of firearms between honest citizens, requiring lifelong friends, neighbors and some family members to get federal government permission to exercise a fundamental right or face prosecution.” NRA executive director Chris Cox said in a statement. “As we have noted previously, expanding background checks, at gun shows or elsewhere, will not reduce violent crime or keep our kids safe in their schools.”
In the Rose Garden, Obama was introduced by an impassioned Mark Barden, father of a victim of the Newtown school shooting. Obama blamed “the gun lobby and its allies” for the bill’s failure to pass and said they “willfully lied about the bill.” He claimed the NRA used “intimidation” tactics to sway the vote of senators from more pro-gun who feared they may not be reelected if they voted yes.
Even Obama admitted that the legislation “wouldn’t have prevented all gun massacres”. But when speaking about the Newtown families, he said their emotions and loss were relevant to this debate.
“All in all, this was a pretty shameful day for Washington,” he said.
In an attempt to end on a positive note, Obama said, “I believe we’re going to be able to get this done. Sooner or later, we’re going to get this right.”
See Obama’s speech via Mediaite here.
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