Senate rejects more gun background checks after CA attack - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Senate rejects more gun background checks after CA attack

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Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., right, and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., attend a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015, to discuss gun control and related amendments to the reconciliation bill. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., right, and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., attend a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015, to discuss gun control and related amendments to the reconciliation bill. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

WASHINGTON (AP) — A polarized Senate voted Thursday against expanding background checks for more gun purchases, rejecting the proposal a day after the latest U.S. mass shooting left 14 people dead in California.

Thursday's mostly party-line 50-48 vote, which followed the Senate's defeat of other firearms curbs, underscored that political gridlock over the issue remains formidable in Washington, even amid a rash of highly publicized U.S. shootings and last month's terror attack in Paris.

The background check measure, co-authored by Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., was the same proposal the Senate rejected in early 2013, just months after 20 children and six educators were shot to death at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

In that roll call two years ago in a Democratic-controlled Senate, the effort fell five votes short of the 60 needed to overcome opponents' tactics aimed at derailing it. The plan was strongly opposed by the National Rifle Association.

Thursday's renewal of the issue showed an erosion of support for the proposal in the Republican-run chamber.

With next year's presidential and congressional elections moving into sight, Democrats have hoped that support for the curbs would grow, fed by a spate of high-profile mass slayings since 2013.

Also feeding public anxiety has been last month's attacks in Paris, which left 130 people dead and has raised concerns about a growing threat posed by terrorist organizations like the Islamic State group.

The Manchin-Toomey proposal would require background checks for all gun purchases online and at gun shows. Currently, the checks are only required for transactions from licensed gun dealers.

Thursday's vote was symbolic because the proposal was offered as an amendment to a bill obliterating President Barack Obama's health care law, which he will veto. Nonetheless, its political significance was unmistakable.

The vote came a day after a shooting in San Bernardino, California, killed 14 people and wounded 21 others.

Earlier Thursday, the Senate in mostly party-line votes rejected rival proposals that could make it harder for people the government suspects of being terrorists from purchasing firearms.

By 54-45, senators voted down a proposal by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., that would let the government bar sales to people it suspects of being terrorists. Though she initially introduced the proposal early this year, it received attention after last month's attacks in Paris.

Minutes earlier, the Senate killed a rival plan by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, that would let the government delay firearms sales to suspected terrorists for up to 72 hours. Under that proposal, the transaction could be halted permanently during that waiting period if federal officials could persuade a judge to do so.

Senators voted 55-44 for Cornyn's proposal, but it needed 60 votes to pass.

Democrats said Cornyn's proposal was a sham because it would be easy for a lawyer to force enough delays to last 72 hours and let gun purchases proceed.

Republicans said the government's terror watch lists include people who are included erroneously and should not be used to deny people their right to own firearms.

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