Progressives vowed to target Democrats who voted against expanded criminal background checks after the Senate on Wednesday rejected an amendment to gun legislation that would close the so-called gun show loophole.
“Today, the Senate voted against the 91% of Americans who support background checks to stop gun violence. We’ll be holding accountable Democrats who voted against their constituents by running ads in their states, featuring some of the 23,000 gun owners who have joined our campaign for common sense gun reform,” said Stephanie Taylor, Progressive Change Campaign Committee co-founder.
The progressive group Democracy for America made similar comments.
“Democrats who were too cowardly to get on the right side of a 90-10 issue like universal background checks better believe that the progressives will remember their spinelessness on gun violence prevention come reelection time. The over 1 million members of Democracy for America nationwide work to elect progressive fighters, not U.S. Senators who can be cowed by the right-wing fringe and gun industry lobbyists like the NRA,” remarked Neil Sroka, the communications director for Democracy for America.
The Toomey-Manchin amendment would have required background checks for firearm sales at gun shows and on the Internet. The Senate voted 54-46 in support of the amendment, but failed short of the 60 votes needed.
Democratic Sens. Mark Pryor (AK), Max Baucus (MT), Mark Begich (AK) and Heidi Heitkamp (ND) voted against the amendment. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) also voted against the amendment so that Democrats could bring the bill up again.
Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) have proposed an alternative amendment, which does not expand background checks. Instead, it focuses on prosecuting individuals who fail background checks.
New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, the co-chair of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, also blasted Democrats who voted against the Toomey-Manchin amendment.
“Today’s vote is a damning indictment of the stranglehold that special interests have on Washington,” he said in a statement. “More than 40 U.S. senators would rather turn their backs on the 90 percent of Americans who support comprehensive background checks than buck the increasingly extremist wing of the gun lobby. Democrats – who are so quick to blame Republicans for our broken gun laws – could not stand united. And Republicans – who are so quick to blame Democrats for not being tough enough on crime – handed criminals a huge victory, by preserving their ability to buy guns illegally at gun shows and online and keeping the illegal trafficking market well-fed.”
[Note: Updated with Reid’s vote]
[Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) via Center for American Progress Action]