Byline: Alan Fram
WASHINGTON -- Nearly a year after the Senate rejected an effort to expand background checks for gun buyers, top Senate Democrats said Thursday that they still lack the votes to successfully revisit the issue.
A day after the latest shootings in Fort Hood in Texas, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told reporters, ''I would like to be able to bring it back up, but I need some more votes.''
Reid's comments were echoed by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who with Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey authored the pivotal measure that the Senate defeated last April 17. Manchin said he's received ''no firm commitments'' for additional support, and didn't expect to see the measure on the floor again unless proponents had more votes in hand.
The measure by Manchin and Toomey was a response to the December 2012 shooting deaths of 20 children and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. It became one of President Barack Obama's top priorities, but the bill was scuttled in the face of opposition from the National Rifle Association.
Senators voted 54-46 for the legislation last year, short of the 60 votes it would have needed for passage. Four Republicans backed the proposal while four Democrats were against it.
Obama and top Democrats spoke of revisiting the issue, but it hasn't happened and seems unlikely to soon. The vote was a tough one for several Democrats facing re-election this...