With families of victims of the Newtown, Conn., massacre watching silently from the chamber, the Senate thwarted a threatened filibuster with a vote of 68 to 31 and will proceed next week to debate a package of legislation that would expand background checks for gun buyers and increase the penalties for criminal sales, in addition to a variety of other amendments. Those include the renewal of the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004.
Twenty-nine Republicans voted against the measure, as did two Democrats.
"Americans across this great country are looking to us for solutions and for action," said Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, "not for filibustering or sloganeering." [...]
The vote, while a short-term victory for gun-control advocates, in no way presages passage of new gun laws. The impending bill will again need 60 votes to end the debate after consideration of contentious amendments offered by both supporters and opponents of new laws.
This has been a long time coming, but we're finally here. And by the way, Senator Dean Heller (R) ultimately voted to end the filibuster on the motion to proceed with official debate. So he essentially voted with the majority to allow for formal debate to Senator Harry Reid's (D) gun safety bill, and to allow for potentially many votes on many amendments to it.
Remember, this is far from over. And although it doesn't feel as such, this is officially only just the beginning of the US Senate's official consideration of Senator Reid's gun safety bill. We're certainly still a far distance from a final cloture vote on a final bill.
So what will Senator Heller ultimately vote for? We don't know yet.
And what will Senator Reid allow to be added to his bill? We don't know completely just yet (though we know he is open to at least some amendments).
So what will finally happen here? You tell me. Otherwise, we must wait & see.