Just one day after shooters in San Bernardino, California killed 14 people and injured 17 more, the Senate again voted down a bipartisan gun-control bill.
The gun-control legislation, initially crafted by Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut elementary school shootings in 2012, failed on a 48-50 vote. The bill would require background checks for all gun sales including at gun shows and online, though not for the transfer of guns between friends and family members.
Four Republicans—Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Mark Kirk of Illinois, John McCain of Arizona, and Toomey himself—voted in favor of the measure. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, who also opposed the bill in 2013, was the only Democrat to oppose the amendment. All of the votes on Thursday were identical to those cast in 2013. Heitkamp is the only Democrat to vote against the original bill who remains in Congress, and all four Republican supporters also backed the legislation two years ago.
Democrats tried to attach the bill as an amendment to Republicans’ reconciliation bill, which would overturn key aspects of the Affordable Care Act and is expected to pass later Thursday. The move is part of a heightened effort by Democrats in Congress to raise the issue of gun control in the wake of recent tragedies, made slightly ironic by the fact that President Obama intends to veto the final bill and that no Democrat is expected to support it.