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President's Gun Control Push Dies in the Senate, Will the White House Continue to Focus on the Issue?

US President Barack Obama speaks on gun control as former US representative Gabby Giffords (L) watches on April 17, 2013 in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

The fear murmured by many Democratic strategists and political observers when the White House began its quest to put forward stricter federal gun control laws has taken shape, as the Democrat-controlled Senate struck down seven gun-related amendments Wednesday, most of them measures championed by President Barack Obama. After the measures failed the president spoke in the rose garden to the media with gun control supporters, including Gabby Giffords and families of Newtown victims, at his side.

"A minority in the U.S. Senate decided it wasn’t worth it," Obama said forcefully. "They blocked gun reforms even while these families looked on from the gallery."

"There were no coherent arguments as to why we wouldn't do this. It came down to politics," the president added. "They caved to pressure, and they started looking for an excuse — any excuse — to vote no."

Josh Kraushaar of the National Journal writes that the president's gamble on advocating strict gun control legislation "was a sign of his political helplessness."

Despite aggressively pushing for expanded background checks, despite enlisting the victims of recent gun violence to lobby their representatives, despite getting one of the more conservative senators to support a watered-down background-check measure, he fell five votes short of getting anything passed in the Senate, including losing four members from his own party.

If this doesn’t demonstrate the limitations of the president’s political muscle and the influence of his newly minted Organizing for Action lobbying group, I don’t know what does.

Alan Gottlieb of The Citizen's Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms joined 'Wilkow!' Thursday to discuss the legislation that failed Wednesday, Obama's reaction, and the next battle ahead for gun rights.

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