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Colorado recall likely to stifle gun effort in Congress

Sep 15, 2013 - The Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Gun control advocates say the National Rifle Association-aided recall of two Colorado legislators who backed new gun restrictions will make it harder to revive stalled efforts in Congress to tighten firearm laws.

Federal legislation expanding background check requirements for gun buyers fell five votes short in the Senate in April, despite political momentum from last December's massacre at a Connecticut elementary school. Gun control backers say they have yet to win a single new Senate supporter, and many worry that the muscle shown by pro-gun groups and voters last week in Colorado will make it even harder to find converts.

"The NRA does its job better than our side does our job," said Jim Kessler, a co-founder of Third Way, which advocates for centrist Democratic policies. "They know how to influence and intimidate elected people."

Added Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn.: "The results of the recall were not good news." As a House member last year, Murphy represented Newtown, where 20 first-graders and six school staffers were gunned down.

Minutes after the Senate rejected the new background checks on April 17, President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., pledged to continue the fight. Democrats and gun control lobbyists, however, don't expect Reid to bring the bill up again until next year at best, not until he has found enough additional votes.

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