Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013 | 12:44 p.m.
A day after a gunman killed a dozen people at the Washington Navy Yard, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he wants gun control back on the agenda.
But, he conceded, he doesn’t have the votes.
“I don’t want any more bad things to happen, you know?” Reid said today. “So something’s going to have to get the attention of these characters who don’t want any controls, who even want people who are emotionally disturbed and felons to be able to purchase guns.”
Reid pointed the finger at Republicans for failing to step up and vote in April for a bill to expand background checks. The measure failed in the Senate 54-46, a few votes shy of a filibuster-proof majority.
Four Democrats voted against the bill; only four Republicans voted for it.
“The thing that bothers me is the number of Republicans that say we want it but we can’t do anything about it,” Reid said, criticizing Republicans for speaking in favor of improving background checks but refusing to vote for the bill.
Many Republican senators, including Nevada Sen. Dean Heller, cited fears that the bill would have allowed the creation of a national gun registry, even though the legislation contained prohibitions to compiling such a list.
Reid suggested he might be able to move a slimmer piece of legislation, one focused on keeping guns out of the hands of mentally unstable people, through the Senate.
A few minutes later, however, he threw water on the idea, telling one reporter that without background checks, it wouldn’t be possible to effectively keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.