April 16, 2013

The US Senate faces a showdown this week over gun rights, but even supporters of a contentious compromise on background checks conceded Tuesday that they are still short of the necessary votes.

President Barack Obama expressed optimism about the proposed bill and said it would be “unimaginable” if Congress defied strong public support for the measure, especially after the Newtown school massacre in December.

The chamber’s top Democrat Harry Reid insisted they had the momentum in the Senate to pass the legislation, which would expand background checks to all commercial firearms sales, including purchases made at gun shows and online.

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