Mark Kirk: Senators Who Rejected Background Checks Must Answer to Voters

By Kyla Gardner on April 17, 2013 2:54pm | Updated on April 17, 2013 6:32pm

CHICAGO — Illinois Republican Sen. Mark Kirk, who broke with his party to support proposed gun control legislation, along with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and President Barack Obama, ripped lawmakers after a proposal to expand background checks on gun purchases was rejected by the U.S. Senate Wednesday. 

The amendment to a larger gun control bill that would expand background checks for gun buyers to gun shows and Internet sales failed to get the needed 60 votes in the Senate  Wednesday, going down on a 54-46 vote.

"I am disappointed that the Senate could not come together to support a bipartisan proposal that would reduce gun violence and protect law-abiding gun owners, but American voters are the ultimate judge of today’s result," Kirk said in a statement.

Emanuel said he would continue to push for reforms at the state level, including longer minimum sentences for gun crimes. But he said federal action is needed.

"The American people deserve better than this," Emanuel said in a statement. " ... Since the majority of illegal firearms found at crime scenes come from outside our city, we need Washington to follow President Obama’s leadership and pass comprehensive gun safety legislation. We cannot allow Washington’s dysfunction and the voices of special interests delay our work to promote the safety of Chicago’s children and communities."

Obama called the outcome "a pretty shameful day for Washington."

The failure in the Senate came after Kirk released a video to supporters explaining he stance, one in which he came to after meeting with Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, who told him 40 percent of guns seized by Chicago Police were purchased without a background check.

"Drug gangs like the Gangster Disciples exploit the loopholes in our current system, and they commit senseless acts of violence leading to the death of innocent people, like 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, shot and killed in gang crossfire," Kirk said in the email to his supporters.

 Sen. Mark Kirk
Sen. Mark Kirk
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Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) also appears in the video. He is one of the senators fighting for support of the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act.

Kirk has said a major victory bringing the background-check amendment to the Senate floor for debate was reached on the bill after Republican and Democratic senators drank and relaxed on Manchin's boat.

On April 11, Kirk was one of 16 Republicans who voted with most Democrats to derail a GOP vote-blocking effort to filibuster the gun measure.

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