Yarmuth: U.S. Senate's failure on gun bill will lead to public backlash and stronger reforms

04/21/2013 11:45 AM

The collapse of efforts in the U.S. Senate to expand background checks to more gun sales will inspire a renewed effort by Americans to push for reforms, predicted Democratic U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth of Louisville.

“I think we’re a long way from finished on this. As a matter of fact, I think the disbelief of the American public over what happened in the Senate will almost guarantee that we get some kind of action,” Yarmuth said at the beginning of his interview with Pure Politics on Thursday night.

Yarmuth said he expects the ultimate legislation will be stronger than what was proposed by West Virginia Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin and Pennsylvania Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey. Their amendment would have required background checks on gun buyers at gun shows and on the Internet and specifically would have prohibited the government from keeping a registry of gun owners.

The proposal, Yarmuth said, was done in by what he called “misinformation” by the NRA, who convinced enough senators on both sides of the aisle that those senators would become politically vulnerable by voting for the amendment.

“They were willfully negligent. They knew what was in the bill. They weren’t deceived,” Yarmuth said.

Yarmuth also criticized Kentucky Republican U.S. Sens. Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell for opposing the Manchin-Toomey proposal.

McConnell has said he is concerned about infringing on the Second Amendment.

“In my view, we should focus on keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals and those with mental issues that could cause them to be a threat to society,” McConnell said Wednesday on the Senate floor. “The government should not punish or harass law-abiding citizens in the exercise of their Second Amendment rights, and it’s that focus on protecting communities and preserving our constituents’ constitutional rights that will be my guide as we begin to vote on amendments to this bill.”

Yarmuth said McConnell’s words didn’t match his vote.

“You had on one hand Mitch McConnell saying in what breath: ‘What we need to do is keep guns out of the hands of criminals and mentally unstable people,’ and then stopping a bill that did exactly that,” Yarmuth said. “That’s outrageous.”

About Ryan Alessi

Ryan Alessi joined cn|2 in May 2010 as senior managing editor and host of Pure Politics. He is now pursuing an advanced degree in non-fiction writing from Murray State University and is a regular contributor to Pure Politics. Ryan has covered politics for more than 14 years, including seven years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Ryan can be reached at purepolitics@twcable.com or @mycn2 on Twitter.

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