A wrenching national search for solutions to the violence that left 20 children dead in Newtown, Conn., in December all but ended Wednesday after the Senate defeated several gun-related measures.
In rapid succession, a bipartisan compromise to expand background checks for would-be gun purchasers, a ban on assault weapons and a ban on high-capacity gun magazines all failed to get the 60 votes needed under an agreement both parties had reached to consider the amendments.
Senators also turned back Republican proposals to promote concealed weapons permits nationally and focus law enforcement on prosecuting gun crimes.
Among those looking on from the gallery, Lori Haas, whose daughter was shot at Virginia Tech, and Patricia Maisch, a survivor of the mass shooting in Tucson, shouted, “Shame on you.” Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who presided over the votes, then asked for decorum.
“They need to be ashamed of themselves,” Ms. Maisch said as she was being escorted from the Capitol. “They have no souls. They have no compassion.”
Former Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who was severely injured in the Tucson shooting, wrote in a Twitter message: “Senate ignored will of the people & rejected background checks. Im not giving up. Constituents will know they obeyed gun lobby and not them.”
The Senate’s opponents of gun control, from both parties, said that they cast their votes based on logic and that passion had no place in the making of momentous policy.
“Criminals do not submit to background checks now. They will not submit to expanded background checks,” said Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa. A provision to expand background checks was widely seen as the substantive measure with the greatest chance of passing.
Its failure was a striking defeat for one of President Obama’s highest domestic priorities, on an issue that has consumed the country since Adam Lanza opened fire with an assault weapon in the halls of Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Overall, a pretty solid day for gun nuts and sociopaths. And aside from the NRA and GOP, mass murderers and criminals and the mentally ill who want to commit massacres win, too.
Freedom smells like cordite and the blood of young children.