The Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected a measure to shield gun manufacturers and dealers from lawsuits.
The defeat came after a roller-coaster day in which Republicans abruptly withdrew their support for the bill because Democrats had tacked on amendments to renew the 10-year assault weapons ban and require background checks on customers at gun shows, reports the New York Times.
The 90-8 vote against the measure capped a week of debate in which both sides thought the bill, which was backed by the White House, would pass with bipartisan support. Instead, it injected the volatile issue of gun control squarely into the presidential campaign.
Both sides agreed that the outcome shifted the political landscape surrounding the contentious issue of gun control. Democrats, many of whom had been backing away from the issue since Al Gore’s defeat in 2000, embraced the assault weapons ban and background checks.
“This is a huge victory,” said Richard Aborn, former president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
But Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, which has made legal immunity for gun makers and dealers one of its top legislative priorities, predicted the votes would hurt Democrats.