As the powerful gun lobby ties politicians’ hands in Congress, preventing any possibility of a comprehensive gun control law -- at least not in 2013 -- a less ambitious Democratic gun control package appears to be struggling in the Senate.
President Barack Obama knows this, and has embarked on a campaign to make an emotional appeal to lawmakers to pass some sort of responsible gun control legislation that will, he said, save lives.
More than a dozen Senate Republicans have warned of a filibuster of the Senate Democrats’ gun control measure that would extend background checks for gun buyers, toughen federal laws for straw purchasers, and pump millions more into school safety programs.
While polls show that about 90 percent of Americans, including 85 percent of gun owners support universal background checks, the question now is whether lawmakers are listening to America.
The answer to that rests in the power of negotiation: Two senators who oppose gun restrictions -- Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., -- are now negotiating a compromise for expanding background checks. Still, at least 13 Republicans are preparing to block debate on the bill.
The Republicans planning to filibuster the gun control legislation are: Rand Paul from Kentucky; Ted Cruz from Texas; Mike Lee from Utah; Marco Rubio from Florida; James Inhofe from Oklahoma; Mike Enzi from Wyoming; Richard Burr from North Carolina; Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran from Kansas; Ron Johnson from Wisconsin; Dan Coats from Indiana; and Mike Crapo and James Risch of Idaho; and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell from Kentucky.