Let’s be clear about this: The gun bill was filibustered, not defeated on a straight up-or-down vote


If you’re wondering why the bill on background checks for gun sales was defeated in the Senate yesterday when a majority of senators actually supported it, HERE‘s the answer:

Wednesday’s vote on expanding background checks for gun sales would have led to headlines in many other countries about a landslide victory. After all, 55-45 is not a particularly close vote.

That wide margin was achieved on background checks despite the unequal distribution of Senate votes, which are allocated two to a state regardless of population, thereby giving disproportionate power to rural areas that tend to oppose gun legislation.

Yet even 55-45 wasn’t enough to pass the amendment — not over the threat of a filibuster.

(Officially, the background check vote is recorded as 54-46. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) supported the measure, but voted against it in order to preserve the right to bring it back up.)

Following the 2012 election, the Senate had debated whether to reform the filibuster by forcing opponents of a bill, in the interests of open debate, to take the floor and speak in order to stop an up-or-down vote. That effort was defeated by a coalition of Democrats and Republicans, led by Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.). All three voted for the doomed background checks measure.

Wednesday’s vote quickly led backers to bemoan the Senate rules requiring 60 votes to break a filibuster.

“Everything needs 60 votes today. This is supposed to be a majority body,” complained Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) after the amendment failed.



  1. “President Obama’s gun control agenda was routed in the Senate on Wednesday, and Mr. Obama naturally blamed the National Rifle Association. The truth is that Mr. Obama invited this meltdown by assuming he could exploit the Newtown massacre to ram through a liberal wish-list that wouldn’t have stopped the next mass murder.

    The day’s biggest news was the defeat of the amendment expanding background checks by Senators Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) and Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.). It fell six votes short of the 60 needed to pass, as four Democrats defected: Max Baucus (Mont.), Mark Begich (Alaska), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Mark Pryor (Ark.).
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    And that was the liberals’ best hope. The President’s proposed bans on certain rifles and large ammunition clips didn’t even make 50 votes. It was amusing to see Majority Leader Harry Reid try to salvage some credibility with liberals by declaring his support for all of these failing provisions. Mr. Reid won his last Senate race by running as a wholly owned NRA subsidiary. He and Mr. Obama are blaming everyone else for their defeat, but the meltdown took place in the Democratic Senate.

    The rout also vindicates Republicans who wanted the Senate to vote on the gun bill as opposed to the Rand Paul-Ted Cruz faction who sought a filibuster. For once Democrats had to declare themselves in public and couldn’t hide behind shouts of “Republican obstructionism.”

    So much for the first big liberal hope of Mr. Obama’s second term. Maybe he should consider a centrist strategy from now on.”

  2. wilson: The vast majority of Americans support stronger background check. So do most U.S. senators.

    That crap you’re peddling from Rupert Murdoch’s water-carriers at the Wall Street Journal doesn’t change those facts.

    Moreover, we haven’t heard the last of this issue.

  3. Don’t tell me, tell the following Senators ;Max Baucus (Mont.), Mark Begich (Alaska), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Mark Pryor (Ark.), apparently they didn’t get that message.

    “How Obama Misread the Politics of Gun Control
    Reality check: Gun-control opponents hold the upper hand politically in 2014.”

    “Despite the reflexive criticism of the NRA, the real complication for gun-control backers is the voters themselves at least those in certain states. ”


  4. Wilson: So four Democrats from gun-nut states are afraid of the NRA. So what?

    That doesn’t change the facts as I stated them above: The vast majority of Americans support stronger background checks, and so do most U.S. senators.

  5. Most Americans favor a complete fence on the Mexican border and most Americans do not favor “Obamacare”. So what’s your point?

    If the electorate is upset about how their particular representative voted on this matter, then they will be vote against them in the next election. If enough of them vote against them, then they will be voted out of office.

  6. Pat, they are scared of that mean old the NRA? I thought maybe it was their constituents, so these Democrats have no gravitas?

    Never disputed your facts, maybe you needed to make a new argument? I must have missed that fact in your post, unless it was on the link you provided, which I didn’t see.

    Interesting, you only point out that fact after my post and then reiterate. So the subject of this post was what?
    “The gun bill was filibustered, not defeated on a straight up-or-down vote”
    And that was because ” The vast majority of Americans support stronger background checks, and so do most U.S. senators.”


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