Following failed efforts to expand background checks for gun purchases, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Monday that advocates for stricter gun laws will "settle" for rules restricting the mentally ill and criminals from purchasing guns.
"Someone who has extreme mental problems, they shouldn't be able to buy a gun," Reid said on the Senate floor. Someone who's a criminal shouldn't be able to buy a gun. That's all we want. We'll settle for that. The people of Sandy Hook will settle for that."
Reid was referring to those affected by the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in December that left 20 children and six adults dead. He said he's met with them "several times" since the shooting. "They're not asking for anything that's outrageous," he said.
Gun control advocates were dealt a serious blow when the Senate last montha bill to expand background checks on gun purchases. When Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., , they said it was designed to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. The bill, however, failed to get the 60 votes needed to pass for a variety of reasons.
The bill is now on hold indefinitely in the Senate, but the public and private pressure that advocates are putting on lawmakers has been strong enough to.
Reid on Monday commended Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., for "not letting the American people forget about Sandy Hook."