WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama says the Senate's opposition to a bill that would have expanded background checks for gun buyers marks a "shameful day" in Washington. He says a minority of senators decided "it wasn't worth it" to protect the nation's children.
Obama spoke in the Rose Garden shortly after the Senate vote. It marked a major blow to the gun control push Obama started in the wake of December's shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school.
The president pinned the blame for the measures failure, though five Democrats also opposed the plan.
Obama was introduced by the father of a 7-year-old killed in the shooting. Other families joined him in the Rose Garden, along with former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head in 2011.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Senate rejected a bipartisan effort to expand federal background checks to more firearms buyers in a crucial showdown over gun control.
Wednesday's vote was a jarring blow to the drive to curb firearms sparked by December's massacre of children and staff at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. President Barack Obama made broadened background checks the centerpiece of his gun control proposals.
The roll call was also a victory for the National Rifle Association, which opposed the plan as an ineffective infringement on gun rights.
The proposal would have required background checks for all transactions at gun shows and online. Currently they must occur for sales handled by licensed gun dealers.
The system is designed to keep criminals and people with mental problems from getting guns.