By Curtis Tate
WASHINGTON -- A ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines fell well short of the votes needed to pass the Senate Wednesday, but Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., vowed to continue her long fight for such legislation.
"I'm disappointed by today's vote, but I always knew this was an uphill battle," Feinstein said in a statement after her amendment garnered only 40 votes. "I believe the American people are far ahead of their elected officials on this issue, and I will continue to fight for a renewed ban on assault weapons."
Feinstein's amendment was part of a series of gun-related provisions the Senate considered Wednesday. But as victims of recent mass shootings and their family members watched from the visitors gallery, all seven amendments failed to get the 60 votes needed for approval, including a carefully crafted compromise on background checks for gun shows and online sales, as well as a crackdown on gun trafficking.
Before the vote on Feinstein's assault weapons ban, she stood and implored her colleagues to "show some guts."
But her amendment drew support from only one Republican, Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois. Fifteen of Feinstein's fellow Democrats voted against it.
In a speech Wednesday morning on the Senate floor, Feinstein all but conceded that her effort, spurred by December's mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where 20 children and six adults were killed, would not succeed.
PHOTO CREDIT: Photos of Sandy Hook Elementary School victims are displayed behind Sen. Dianne Feinstein as she speaks Feb. 27 about her proposal to ban assault weapons. Susan Walsh / Associated Press file