WASHINGTON (April 9, 2013)—U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says there will be a showdown vote Thursday on his party's effort to enact new gun restrictions.
Reid said he doesn’t know whether Democrats will get the 60 votes needed to break an effort by conservatives to block debate on the legislation.
At least five Republicans have indicated an openness to support the Democratic effort to at least begin debate, which would give Democrats the votes they would need, assuming no moderate Democrats defect, which is possible.
One Republican who wants to see the gun restrictions go to an up-or-down vote, Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, says, "The American people ought to see where everybody stands on this."
A Senate vote to begin debating the legislation would be a temporary victory for President Barack Obama's gun-control drive.
It remains unclear, though, whether there are enough votes for final approval of the legislation.
Vice President Joe Biden says he refuses to believe a small group of senators will block a vote on gun legislation.
The vice president said it would be "embarrassing" if a filibuster would be the climax of a national tragedy such as the shooting at Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Biden spoke to law enforcement officers at the White House just before Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced he would push for a vote Thursday.
Biden encouraged the police and sheriff's deputies to go talk to their lawmakers in uniform to encourage passage of the bill.
Biden vowed to win the fight on guns, even if this vote is blocked. ‘
He said Americans won't stand for inaction after Sandy Hook.