Let the Gun Control Debate Begin (In The Senate)

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 11 2013 11:40 AM

Let the Gun Control Debate Begin (In The Senate)

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) speaks to the media on April 9, 2013 in Washington, DC

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Senate Democrats got the 60 votes they needed after all to overcome a GOP filibuster and move to debate on gun control legislation.

The final tally: 68 Senators voted to end the filibuster and move to debate, with 31 against. Sixteen Republicans voted with 50 Democrats and 2 Independents in the Senate to move forward with the bill.

Republicans voting to move forward on debate included (according to the Guardian) Senators John McCain, John Hoeven, Kelly Ayotte, Saxby Chambliss, Tom Coburn, Susan Collins, Jeff Flake, Johnny Isakson, and Lindsey Graham, who tweeted on Thursday, "I welcome a debate on the Second Amendment in the United States Senate. I want to proceed to this bill. I want to debate it. I'm not afraid."

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Meanwhile Democratic Senators Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Mark Begich of Alaska voted "no" with the remaining Republicans against proceeding to debate.

A bipartisan compromise on the expansion of background checks helped ease the way for some Republicans to join Democrats and open debate. That compromise apparently trumped the NRA's late-breaking announcement last night that they'd "score" a key cloture vote. If the bill eventually passes the Senate (quick reminder: the Senate still has to get through the amendment process on this bill), all signs point to an even tougher battle in the Republican-controlled House. For more on Thursday's vote, and what it means, read Dave Weigel's report.

This post has been updated with additional information and a clarification of the NRA's "scoring" announcement.

Abby Ohlheiser is a Slate contributor.

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