The US Senate has rejected a bipartisan plan to expand background checks for gun buyers, dealing a sharp blow to President Barack Obama’s campaign to curb gun violence after the Newtown school massacre, Al Jazeera reports. Despite emotional pleas from families of victims of the Newtown, Connecticut, shootings and broad public support nationwide, the plan to extend background checks to online and gun-show sales failed on a 54-46 vote on Wednesday, six votes short of the 60-vote hurdle needed to clear the Senate. Speaking from the White House on Wednesday, Obama blamed the blockage of the legislation on a “minority” in the US Senate, marking it as a “shameful day for Washington”. “The gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill,” he said, adding that the proposal “represented moderation and common sense”.
The amendment negotiated by Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania was seen as Obama’s best hope to pass meaningful gun-control legislation after the December massacre of 20 children and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown.The Democratic-led Senate also will consider several Republican-sponsored amendments backed by the National Rifle Association gun lobby that would expand gun rights, adding an element of uncertainty to the eventual content of the bill.