WASHINGTON--A measure to broaden background checks for gun purchasers failed Wednesday on a 54-46 vote, falling short of the 60 votes needed to advance. The proposal, in the form of an amendment by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) was the first of a series of votes on amendments to a firearms bill.
Vice President Joe Biden--who is leading President Barack Obama's drive to pass gun-control legislation in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, Ct.--is presiding over the Senate session for the firearms votes.
Illinois Senators Dick Durbin, a Democrat and Mark Kirk, a Republican, voted in support of closing gun show and other background check loopholes.
The Senate is now taking up the gun fencing and trafficking provisions championed by Durbin and Kirk.