Joe Hanel and Stefanie Dazio of the Durango Herald report:
Sens. Michael Bennet and Mark Udall voted Wednesday in favor of a failed amendment that would have strengthened federal gun controls.
Both Colorado Democrats supported a bipartisan amendment that would have expanded background checks to gun shows and the Internet.
That amendment, one of seven that failed in the Senate on Wednesday night, was rejected 54-46. None of the seven amendments received the required 60 votes to pass.
“It’s a sad day for our nation when a minority of the U.S. Senate has blocked commonsense legislation that is supported by 90 percent of Americans,” Udall said in a statement. [Pols emphasis]
FOX 31's Eli Stokols:
Obama blamed the gun lobby that “willfully lied” about the amendment and members of his own party who “caved to the pressure” and voted against the amendment.
Five Democrats voted against the measure, most of them representing more conservative states and facing uncertain reelection prospects next year (Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, voted no for procedural reasons only so that he can re-introduce the amendment should it magically garner additional support).
Four Republicans voted in favor of the proposal, which would have closed the so-called “gun show loophole”, something Colorado did a decade ago, and require background checks for all online gun sales.
In addition to their vote to expand background checks on firearm sales, Colorado Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet also voted for the amendment to limit magazine capacity. These votes resolve what was a significant concern among local Democrats, the possibility that one or both U.S. Senators would essentially vote against the similar legislation passed in the Colorado General Assembly this year. It's politically very good for Colorado Democrats that everybody got through this debate more or less on the same page at all levels.
Sens. Udall and Bennet did vote against the amendment from Sen. Diane Feinstein to ban some 180+ specific models of so-called "assault weapons." There is some consternation about that among supporters, but in Colorado this year, no attempt was made to ban any specific model of firearm–and the closest to a bill regulating assault weapons was a liability measure that was pulled by its sponsor. In the near term, especially after yesterday's result, any kind of federal assault weapons ban campaign is likely to be at best a flanking effort in a campaign to get background check expansions passed. Of all the amendments debated yesterday, federal background check expansion is by far the most popular, and we do expect to see it again very soon.
Opposition to background check expansion at the federal level relied on many of the same absurd arguments we heard at the state level: that the bill would lead to a "gun registry," that it "bans private gun sales," and our favorite idiotic tautology, "criminals don't obey laws." Despite the polls that show support for closing background check loopholes of all descriptions at near-unanimous highs, 80% or more reliably, the gun lobby's legendary influence in Washington killed this legislation with many of the same tired falsehoods we've already refuted in Colorado.
Those who opposed the proposal argued that it would lead to a federal registry of all firearms, something Democrats and even Republican Sen. John McCain, who voted yes on the amendment, dismissed as a scare tactic.
It's another sad story of Washington gridlock, but Colorado Democrats can at least be a little proud.