WASHINGTON - The Senate has rejected an attempt by Democrats to ban assault weapons, one of their leading answers to December's slayings of children and staff at an elementary in Newtown, Conn.
Led by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, supporters said barring the military-style weapons would reduce the deadliness of gun crimes because shooters wouldn't be able to fire as many shots.
But Republicans and many Democrats opposed taking a step they say would curtail the Second Amendment right to bear arms. They also argued that prohibiting the weapons would do little because assault weapons account for a small portion of gun crimes.
The defeat Wednesday was expected.
The plan was rejected 60-40, which was not enough votes it needed to advance.
Senators Franken and Klobuchar both voted for the background check measure.
Senators Franken and Klobuchar both voted for the
President Barack Obama says the Senate's opposition to the bill marks a "shameful day" in Washington. He says a minority of senators decided "it wasn't worth it" to protect the nation's children.
Obama spoke in the Rose Garden shortly after the Senate vote. It marked a major blow to the gun control push Obama started in the wake of December's shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school.
The president pinned the blame for the measures failure, though five Democrats also opposed the plan.
Obama was introduced by the father of a 7-year-old killed in the shooting. Other families joined him in the Rose Garden, along with former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head in 2011.
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