Senate Democrats have abandoned efforts to pass a law this year expanding background checks for gun purchases — dealing a new setback to the drive for tougher gun laws after the Newtown school massacre.
In a meeting Thursday with a pro-gun-control group, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said budget battles looming this fall will make it impossible to enact the background-check measure that failed to pass in April.
“I think sometime next year we’ll revisit that issue. I’m almost certain of it,” Reid (D-Nev.) told the group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, according to a reporter for The Nation who was allowed to sit in on the meeting.
Senate leadership aides had predicted a push to pass the measure this fall.
Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who co-authored the background-check measure, and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) had been talking with fellow senators about tweaking the bill to win over opponents.
Gun control supporters are concerned that the momentum for new laws after Sandy Hook has dissipated.
But they made little progress gaining support, suggesting a fall vote would have failed.
In the wake of Reid’s remarks, Schumer vowed to press on. “We’re working every day to get the votes for a background check bill and as soon as we have them, we’ll bring it up for a vote,” he said.