Expanded Gun Background Checks Rejected

Senate vote fails to extend background checks for all guns purchased at gun shows and online.
11:02 | 04/17/13

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Transcript for Expanded Gun Background Checks Rejected
This is a special report from ABC news. Hello I'm -- I'm Tanya Rivero in New York the push to pass new gun control laws hit a wall in the senate this afternoon. Steelers news. From the vote. On this vote the days are 54 the days are 46. Under the previous order requires sixty votes for the adoption of this amendment. The amendment. Is not agreed to. The senator that the majority leader. -- -- That would Vice President Biden he presided over the vote now that bipartisan deal to expand background checks. Was defeated just moments ago with a bipartisan opposition. It was one in a series of votes all amendments to a larger piece of legislation that is now unlikely to end up on president Obama's desk anytime soon. With more from the senate we're joined now by ABC news Washington correspondent Jeff -- Melanie hi there Jeff. So -- and after a lot of early optimism that to -- mansion deal to expand background checks lost ground pretty -- what happened there. It did lose a bit of ground -- 54 senators voted for -- which under normal rules is more than a majority but this required sixty votes. What happened is this legislation really lost steam. Only a week ago. The supporters thought that they were on their way here to really improving the most sweeping gun legislation in. In about twenty years here in the senate but the NRA and other. Opponents of this really pushed back hard. And raise some questions legitimate in the mind of some senators from gun friendly states. And they just could not build this coalition this Republican and democratic and coalition to support this bill that -- -- -- any new town families in the chamber during the vote you know. There were I was in the senate gallery as the voting began for the first ten minutes of this -- and there were not only -- families but also families of of other shootings from Virginia Tech. From the Colorado theater shootings these victims have been up here on Capitol Hill working nonstop -- citizen lobbyists I talk with one. With one a mother from. As this as this was going on so also in the gallery. War some of them Mayor Bloomberg supporters -- are are backing his big and done. Organization that is really to -- to the NRA here and one of them told me as I want Dan. That this vote will be remembered until 2014 in the mid term election so this -- a very consequential vote today. For those reasons. This will resonate for sure I guess we don't have any word yet on how those -- families and these other groups responded. To the -- so soon. Well we do because they knew this was coming in and really throughout the day today. It looked like that this was not going to pass I talked to some of them earlier -- today and they're resigned they say to keep fighting. The you know this is not the end of this issue the majority the American public. Supports this so they say they are going do I keep pressing on with us. Susan Ellis hasn't -- nitty gritty here to block the senators had been on the fence only revealing their plans in the last few days. Who really swung this vote today. Well it was Democrats a handful of Democrats from gun friendly states who did not agree to support this but also some Republicans Pat Toomey Republican of Pennsylvania. Thought that he could build a broader coalition of Republicans that only John McCain and Susan Collins. Join him with this as well as Mark Kirk of Illinois only four Republicans voted for this so that was a key issue here but I think it's important also to understand the opposition. Why did people vote against this. And several senators I talked to said that they believed it was -- it's unfair infringement of the rights of gun owners especially from rural states this broke down. As an urban rural issue in some cases fit that it was too onerous for people in rural states to buy guns they would have to travel. Miles and miles and miles to get a background check before they could buy a gun. On lines that was one of the opposition. I'm from some senators are today. So that's what's next for -- well. Well this bill now is is likely shelves for the rest of the year and death. And the gun control advocates -- A pushing for this don't have a lot of recourse they could bring it up again. Later in this senator session but it's hard to imagine -- something like that would pass now it really turns to the court of public opinion. What is going to happen here with this debate is the public going to demand action here the public is often in front of Washington -- -- public -- -- -- leading the way. So that is really where this. Next next steps are here but a big defeat for the president in the White House -- as well. I was gonna ask you have we -- -- got you said earlier that this defeat was expected so have we heard anything from President Obama and the runup to today's vote. Sure he was on the phone even hours before this so -- trying to call some Democrats. To trying to purse -- them to change their minds but. They are now going to -- seize on this as what they believe is a potent political issue. They are going to try and use this against senators who were up in the midterm elections in 2014 -- politics aside this is a policy defeat for this White House as well. Bring this was just a small slice of what -- the administration was originally even proposing in the wake of Newtown. And even this couldn't get past so it just shows how difficult gun legislation is still is how entrenched the lobbies are on both sides of this issue. Absolutely now about what's next for senator Joseph -- the Democrat with an a rating from the NRA what what's his next move here. -- we can be sure that that -- rating is no more revenue -- is and other gun groups are furious at him as well as Pat Toomey Republican of Pennsylvania. The look I spoke with him this morning and he said that. Even 80% of voters in West Virginia a gun friendly state -- on his side of the so I look for him to be more of a leader on this issue and to keep talking about this -- is certainly raised his. His profile if not his credibility throughout this debate but that he thought that. He'd be able to get the votes he was wrong. And but you're right that could in the long term turn out to work out for his his advantage. -- senators also voted on an assault weapons ban how did that -- break down. In fact that vote is underway. As we speak and that -- well of course not pass the senate there's not enough support for banning assault -- weapons but senator Harry Reid. Surprisingly he came out this morning. In favor of banning assault weapons -- -- ways if you will with the NRA he's always been an ally of them even though he's a Democrat. And he said it is time to. Stand in the way -- some of these guns that have been used in that. The shootings in Newtown and other places so but this assault weapons ban will not pass the senate. And it was not expected to really but it is a marker for Democrats that some eight other amendments are also being discussed here this afternoon. Well -- reporter earlier there was also a Republican amendment basically legalizing concealed carry nation wide. Who was behind that. Senator John Cornyn of Texas is is supporting this men and and that it's also being voted really at this hour in what that would do quite simply is this. If you have a concealed carry permit a permit to have a gun concealed. Senior person warrior. Your -- your purse what have you. Senator from Texas visiting New York City you could happen in -- square. But that is not going to pass as well but -- it is just one of the examples here the assault weapons ban on one side. Constituency of Kerry's -- on the other side senators are debating abroad -- degree of gun legislation but at the end of today we expect none of them to pass such as their. Died on the hill now Jeff -- obviously been a long day on the hill for a number of reasons. Several senators -- receive suspicious packages at some to their offices in Washington other in their home states. What is the mood like there now. We're cutting him the mood it was really one of trepidation. As as different reports came in from from. The three different senate office buildings the Russell building the Hart building which are not too far from the the AUS capitol just across the way. And police were called -- it was not a sense of panic the buildings were not evacuated but boy it was reminiscent of the anthrax attacks here on Capitol Hill in 2001 I remember being here. At the time covering. The situation but this is really a case where. Everything worked as it should. The mail that was since the -- now screened off site that was not the case before nine elevenths. So things actually are working in this case but people are paying very close attention to these letters that were sent -- to be a White House and to a senator from a Mississippi. The FBI's investigating and police say they tested positive. Enough for a -- and -- -- so we know that for sure now. The police are saying they they absolutely tested positive in early sealed a testing they're testing them again to make sure -- not. A false report and there are other reports of additional. Positive tests as well so we're still following in working that story right now but -- it is an ongoing concern. Everyone on high alert no doubt and just before we let you -- there's another big vote ahead for congress on immigration reform Marco Rubio has been the Republican face of this. Will his colleagues fall in line. We'll find out your right immigration is absolutely. -- -- here and there won't be a vote for a few weeks there's going to be a series of public hearings before then but this immigration bill it is bipartisan and as the group. Support of of some Republicans and almost all Democrats but it is still highly controversial. And what happens over the next a few weeks were really sort of seal its -- that the White House is pushing this very hard. I give immigration a much stronger chance of passing because it does have a broad based Republican a level of support. Months speaking strictly about politics here Republican leaders know that they need to change their image and their substance -- policy wise on immigration. -- if they want to be successful going head so that is what's different about that. And the gun debate immigration actually has broad support but that does not mean it'll be an easy rider it's a very controversial in some circles. So the chances President Abbas he's a comprehensive. Immigration reform bill on his death at -- and then there. I think the chances of of the senate passing a bill are likely but then there's the House of Representatives where. Things aren't quite as as certain so this is going to be -- heavy lift but. I think it is moving in that direction. It just depends again on how the record of public opinion influences things appear some people have questions about this and it has to be explain properly. -- at this point it's an open question that it will pass the house or not but all parties on both sides are pushing it. We will certainly all be watching very closely -- felony in Washington thank you. Thank you. This has been at ABC news digital special report on Tanya Rivero in New York's. This has been a special report from ABC news.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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