The Senate voted 54-46 Wednesday to defeat a
bipartisan amendment to expand background checks for gun purchases, effectively killing the cornerstone of new gun control legislation that Democrats have been pushing since the December elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn. Four Democrats broke with their party and voted against the amendment, assuring that the measure would come up short of the 60 votes needed for passage.
Three of those lawmakers — Sens. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Max Baucus of Montana, and Mark Begich of Alaska — face competitive re-election races in deep-red states next year.
The fourth, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, was elected to her first Senate term in 2012.
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