While most polls showed strong support for expanding background checks for gun purchases, the results of a new survey by the Pew Research Center and the Washington Post showed a mixed reaction to the Senate's failure to pass new gun control legislation last week.
The poll showed that 47 percent of Americans have negative feelings about the Senate's inability to pass the legislation, while 39 percent had a positive reaction to the vote.
The Senate voted 54 to 46 in favor of a compromise background check bill introduced by Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., and Pat Toomey, R-Penn., falling short of the 60 votes needed for approval. The vote largely came down along party lines, with most Republican Senators voting against the bill.
The proposal would have extended the existing background check system to gun shows and online sales but exempted temporary transfers and some private sales between friends and neighbors.
Among those that reacted negatively to the vote, 15 percent said they are "angry" the legislation was voted down and 32 percent said they are "disappointed."
Meanwhile, those that reacted positively included 20 percent that said they are "very happy" the legislation was blocked and 19 percent that said they are "relieved."
Fifty-one percent of Republicans had a positive reaction to the vote, including 29 percent that said they are "very happy" about the outcome.
On the other hand, 67 percent of Democrats had a negative reaction, with 41 percent saying they are "disappointed" compared to 26 percent that said they are "angry."
A separate poll from USA Today found waning support for new gun control legislation following the Senate's inability to act on the issue.
The poll showed that 49 percent of Americans favor new gun control laws, while 45 percent are opposed. Another 5 percent were undecided.
USA Today noted that support for new gun control laws is down from 55 percent in early April, which was down from 61 percent in February.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who switched his vote on the Manchin-Toomey proposal to "no" for procedural reasons that will allow him to bring up the bill again, has vowed to bring the measure back to the Senate floor.
"Make no mistake: this debate is not over," Reid said last Thursday. "This is not the end of the fight. Republicans are in an unsustainable position - crosswise with nine out of 10 Americans."
"Democrats will continue to stand with the families from Newtown and Aurora and Tucson and Carson City," he added. "And I assure the 90 percent of Americans who support meaningful background check legislation that I will personally continue this fight."
Gun control jumped to the top of President Obama's domestic agenda after a mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, last December killed 26 people, including 20 children.
by RTT Staff Writer
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