California Sen. Dianne Feinstein is fuming about the failure of the U.S. Senate to pass new restrictions on guns.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Fire-spitting angry, Sen. Dianne Feinstein told her Senate colleagues to “show some guts” as her ban on assault weapons failed in the Senate on Wednesday in the face of relentless opposition from the National Rifle Association.

The California Democrat was in full fury, spilling a stream of outrage beyond the mere two minutes allowed on her amendment to gun legislation that was crafted in response to the massacre of 20 schoolchildren and six adults in Newtown, Conn., four months ago.

In a statement published on her website, Feinstein said, “I will carry on this fight against military-style assault weapons, and I ask of the American people that they continue to pressure their elected officials to take action.”

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Republicans, backed by a small band of rural-state Democrats, turned away legislation Wednesday to tighten restrictions on the sale of firearms, rejecting repeated appeals from President Barack Obama and personal pleas by families of the victims of last winter’s mass elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

Sen. Reid and Sandy Hook families
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) speaks as Sandy Hook victim Vicki Soto’s sister Carlee Soto (2nd L), Sandy Hook victim Dawn Hochsprung’s daughter Erica Lafferty (4th L) listen during a news briefing after the vote. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Attempts to ban assault-style rifles and high capacity ammunition magazines also faced certain defeat in a series of showdown votes four months after a gunman killed 20 elementary school children and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary.

The background check measure commanded a majority of senators, 54-46, but that was well short of the 60 votes needed to advance. Forty-one Republicans and five Democrats sided to scuttle the plan.

In the hours before the key vote, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., bluntly accused the National Rifle Association of making false claims about the expansion of background checks that he and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., were backing.

“Where I come from in West Virginia, I don’t know how to put the words any plainer than this: That is a lie. That is simply a lie,” he said, accusing the organization of telling its supporters that friends, neighbors and some family members would need federal permission to transfer ownership of firearms to one another.

The NRA did not respond immediately to the charge, but issued a statement after the vote that restated the claim. The proposal “would have criminalized certain private transfers of firearms between honest citizens, requiring lifelong friends, neighbors and some family members to get federal government permission to exercise a fundamental right or face prosecution,” said a statement from Chris Cox, a top lobbyist for the group.

Said Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, “Expanded background checks would not have prevented Newtown. Criminals do not submit to background checks.”

Senate votes were set on a total of nine provisions, some advanced by lawmakers on each side of an issue in which Democrats from rural or Southern states generally lined up with the overwhelming majority of Republicans.

Whatever the outcome, the events were unlikely to be the last word on an issue that Democratic leaders shied away from for nearly two decades until Obama picked up on it after the Newtown shootings.

Vice President Joe Biden presided over the Senate, a symbolic move since each proposal required a 60-vote majority to pass and he would not be called upon to break any ties. Democratic aides said in advance the issue would be brought back to the Senate in the future, giving gun control supporters more time to win over converts to change the outcome.

The day’s key test concerned the background checks, designed to prevent criminals and the seriously mentally ill from purchasing firearms. Under current law, checks are required only when guns are purchased from federally licensed firearms dealers. The proposal by Manchin and Toomey called for extending the requirement to other sales at gun shows and on the Internet.

Their bipartisan approach was widely seen as advocates’ best chance for winning enough GOP votes to change current law in a way that Obama and gun control groups support. But foes had proposals of their own, including one that would require states that issue concealed weapons permits to honor the permits from other states.

In the hours leading to a vote on the background check measure, Democrats Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Republican Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire became the latest senators to announce their opposition.

On the vote, Democratic Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska and Max Baucus of Montana joined Pryor and Heitkamp in voting against the proposal. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a supporter of the plan, switched his vote to the prevailing “no” side to permit him to call for a revote in the future.

Begich, Pryor and Baucus are all seeking re-election next year.

Among Republicans, Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Mark Kirk of Illinois, John McCain of Arizona and Toomey sided with Democrats.

Numerous polls in recent months have shown support for enhanced gun control measures, including background checks, though it may be weakening.

An Associated Press-GfK poll this month showed that 49 percent of Americans support stricter gun laws, down from 58 percent in January. In that recent survey, 38 percent said they want the laws to remain the same and 10 percent want them eased.

Obama has made enactment of greater curbs a priority on his domestic agenda in the months since the massacre at Newtown, making several trips outside Washington to try and build support. Last week, he traveled to Connecticut, and he invited several parents to fly back to Washington with him aboard Air Force One so they could personally lobby lawmakers.

To an unusual degree for professional politicians, some senators said afterward that they had not wanted to meet with the mothers and fathers of the dead, or said it was difficult to look at photographs that the parents carried of their young children, now dead.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said before Wednesday’s vote, “I think that in some cases, the president has used them as props, and that disappoints me.”

Some of the parents of the Sandy Hook victims watched the votes from the spectators’ gallery that rings the Senate floor. They were joined by relatives of victims of other mass shootings in Arizona, Virginia and Colorado.

At the White House, press secretary Jay Carney said some of them had met earlier in the day with lawmakers, who he said should “consider who they’re representing.

“Ninety percent of the American people support expanded background checks,” he said.

Democratic aides said in advance that the day’s events would end debate on the issue for the time being. But they added they expect Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to bring it back to the floor in the coming months, after supporters of greater controls have had more time to rally public support.

The NRA told lawmakers it intended to keep track of how the votes were cast, and consider them in making decisions about its efforts in the mid-term elections for Congress next year.

An opposing group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, funded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, said it would do likewise.

The NRA has a long track record in electoral politics, and is viewed by lawmakers in both political parties as unusually effective. Bloomberg’s organization has yet to be tested.

The day began with an unexpected announcement from Reid, who has long been a political ally of the NRA. In remarks on the Senate floor, he said he intended to vote for a ban on assault weapons “because maintaining law and order is more important than satisfying conspiracy theorists who believe in black helicopters.”

In the AP-GfK poll, among independents, support for stricter gun laws dipped from 60 percent in January to 40 percent now. About three-fourths of Democrats supported them then and now, while backing among Republicans for looser laws about doubled to 19 percent.

The survey was conducted from April 11-15 by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Corporate Communications. It involved landline and cellphone interviews with 1,004 randomly chosen adults and had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

  • spiris333

    Kiss it Feinstein, time to retire. You’ve been against the Second Amendment for your entire career as a liberal politician. You need to go.

  • No!NRA

    You go girl! You are the only one with balls to stand up to the omnipotent, anachronistic NRA. All the “second amendment” idiots should try living like we did when the constitution was drafted. Maybe then they could get the importance of context
    .

    • Silver Star

      Thank God for the NRA…the only voice of reason in this ridiculous debate. The Dems are lying when they say 90 percent of America are for this
      Illinois, New York and Washingto DC have some of the strictest gun control laws and yet they are leading the nation in crime rates…

    • tom

      Huh??? The right to bear arms in the event the government becomes oppressive. Stand up and fight fight the government. Give rights to the people. The right to freedom of speech, trial by jury, right against unlawful searches and seizures, the right to bear arms is as fundamental as these. Without the right to bear arms all is lost.

  • ProGunMan

    Where the he’ll are they getting this 90% agrees with the expanded background checks, http://www.anti2ndamendment.com. I never got a call or got to vote. Your elected officials would not go against 90% of their voters wishes if they wanted to stay in office. You have to show your firearms permit in order to buy a gun at a gun show or your breaking the law. The same goes for the internet you idiots. If you don’t believe me try to buy one off the web from a gun dealer and ask if they can send it to your house. I bet you’ll be picking your gun up at a nearby FFL dealer or not receiving you gun at all. The laws are already in place, just enforce them people. You anti gun people do not have a clue and believe anything that the Government says, man I feel sorry for you. If you believe so strongly that guns needs to be further restricted then they already are. I ask for you to put a sign in your yard letting everyone know you are against guns and are unarmed. I will put one in my yard that says, Supporter of The Second Amendment & Armed. Let’s sit back and see who’s houses get broken into first? All lies I tell ya, and its coming from the anti-gun nuts not the pro-gun nuts.

    • Silver Star

      Or we could have the names of all the people who don’t own guns published in their local papers.

      • ProGunMan

        That would be better yet since they had no problem doing that to CCW carriers. I remember Obama just telling the people all he wanted was a vote. Well he got his vote and he is not happy with the outcome, so now he makes a statement saying this was only round one. Now this just proves that he is one sided and against guns and the people lawfully behind them. This proves to me he does not just want a vote, he wants your rights with pointless restrictions. He also said the senators were scared because of next year elections is why they voted the way they did to cover there butts. If 90% of the people wanted it already they had nothing to fear would be my thinking. Isn’t this exactly what Mr. Obama did in his 1st term? He was for guns and the constitution and never mentioned gun control until his second re-election, then the real Obama came to the surface. He got his vote he wanted and lost, so suck it up and try to balance your budget and immigration problems without ruining our way of life. Less government is good, you can’t balance a budget, or manage a retirement for the people (social security), or the war on drugs that’s never ending and costing billions. So what gives you the expertise on gun control?

  • John Peschke

    I think this bitch needs to shut up and go away

  • Franklin Cooley

    We already have laws against shooting and killing people, with much greater penalties than we could put on regulating guns. What makes these folks think the criminals would obey gun laws when they clearly don’t care of much stricter laws already?

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