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Gun Background Checks Fail In US Senate; Rob Portman Votes "No"

The US Senate has 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. Rob Portman was among the senators voting against the measure.  His office released the following statement: "Having carefully reviewed the Manchin-Toomey legislation, unfortunately, I do not believe it would be effective in preventing the kind of heartbreaking loss of life seen in Newtown or in other recent tragic incidents.  It does, however, contain several provisions that would make it more difficult for law-abiding Ohioans to exercise their Constitutionally-guaranteed rights. I do believe there are actions Congress can and should take to reduce gun violence without infringing on Second Amendment rights, and I look forward to supporting such amendments.