Source: AP / Yahoo! News
WASHINGTON — Watched by tearful relatives of Newtown school massacre victims, gun control supporters in the Senate won the first showdown over how to respond to the December shootings in Connecticut, defeating an effort by conservatives to derail firearms restrictions before debate could even start.
Thursday’s 68-31 roll call gave an early burst of momentum to efforts by President Barack Obama and lawmakers to push fresh gun curbs through Congress. The National Rifle Association, along with many Republicans and some moderate Democrats, say the proposals go too far, and the road to congressional approval of major restrictions remains rocky.
“The hard work starts now,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said after the vote. As he spoke, relatives of Newtown victims watching from the visitors’ gallery above the Senate floor wiped away tears and held hands, and some seemed to pray.
The vote came four months after a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six staffers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, spurring Obama and legislators to attempt to address firearms violence. Congress hasn’t approved sweeping gun restrictions since enacting an assault weapons ban 19 years ago, a prohibition that lawmakers failed to renew a decade later.
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