WASHINGTON (AP) -- A bipartisan effort to expand background checks on gun purchases is facing almost certain defeat.
Just hours before the roll call, another Republican senator -- Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire -- declared that she would vote against the measure. The announcement, along with opposition from other Republicans and some moderate Democrats, left supporters heading toward defeat unless they could turn votes around.
Rejection of the amendment would be a jarring setback for gun control advocates. They'd been hoping that December's killings of 20 children and six staff members at a Connecticut elementary school would sway Congress to take action to curb gun violence.
The Democratic co-sponsor of the background check provision, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, says, "We need more votes."
As support for tougher gun control measures appears to wane in the Senate, the same situation appears to be taking hold among Americans. An Associated Press-GfK poll taken this month found 49 percent of those surveyed supporting stricter gun laws. That was down from 58 percent who said so in the weeks after the Connecticut shootings.