Manchin-Toomey Gun Background Check Bill Rejected By Senate

Robert Jonathan

The Manchin-Toomey expanded background check amendment for gun purchases has been voted down by the US Senate. The provision needed 60 votes to move forward under Senate rules, but the vote was 54 in favor to 46 opposed. Five Democrats voted against the measure.

One of the several contentions derailing Manchin-Toomey was that the provision could be a precursor to a national gun registry according to the National Rifle Association and other Second Amendment advocates, a notion vigorously disputed by sponsoring Senators Joe Manchin (D -W.Va) and Pat Toomey (R. Pa.), both of whom have been strong gun rights supporters. An alternative proposal to increase enforcement of existing laws that is more in line with the philosophy of gun rights groups sponsored by Sen. Ted Cruz (R - Tex.) also failed to gain enough support.

Earlier today, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms pulled its endorsement of Manchin-Toomey for reasons related to gun-rights restoration.

More votes are coming on banning military-style semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips but neither initiative is expected to gain traction in the Senate. Moreover, the original Obama legislation appears to be going nowhere either. "The failure of Manchin-Toomey means the broader bill still includes Democratic language passed by the Judiciary Committee to establish universal background checks. That language failed to attract a single Republican vote during the panel markup, and conservative Democrats such as Manchin and Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) have said they cannot support the package without changes to the language on background checks."

A CNN poll, which suggested strong support for expanded background checks, also found that "a majority of Americans also fear that increased background checks would lead to a federal registry of gun owners that could allow the government to take away legally owned weapons."

Reacting to the Manchin-Toomey amendment defeat this afternoon, President Obama said that "All in all, this was a pretty shameful day for Washington."