04/11/2013 10:01 am ET Updated Apr 11, 2013

Mark Begich, Democratic Senator, Joins GOP Attempt To Filibuster Gun Bill [UPDATE]

UPDATE: Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) voted to block gun legislation from coming to the floor for debate on Thursday, one of only two Democrats to do so, along with Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.). Another Democratic senator who had threatened to vote no, Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), did not. The gun bill reached the 60-vote threshold needed to move forward.

PREVIOUSLY: Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) may cross the aisle and join a group of Republican senators in filibustering the gun legislation that is expected to come up for a vote on whether to proceed with debate on Thursday.

"I think people should have the opportunity to vote if they know what they’re voting on," Begich said in an interview with the Daily News-Miner in Alaska. "I might be one of those that at the end of the day that doesn’t vote for cloture, because anyone can talk about amendments, but we haven’t seen one of them yet."

The Senate needs 60 votes in order to proceed with debate on Thursday. It will then need another 60 votes to end the debate and amendment period, before proceeding to a final vote on the actual legislation.

Fourteen Republican senators, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), have threatened to filibuster the gun control bill and prevent it from even reaching the floor for debate. Several of their colleagues, in both the House and the Senate, have criticized that position, saying Americans deserve an open discussion on the issue of gun control.

There has been hope that the bipartisan deal on background checks worked out by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) could convince some more skeptical senators to support the legislation, but Begich said he's still not there.

There's no bill, no amendment,” he said. "I’ve seen this played before. Until I see it in detail...I'm waiting to see what that looks like."

Begich also told the News-Miner that President Barack Obama called him on Tuesday, and they spoke for about 25 minutes, in part about gun control.

"Obviously this was what he was calling about," Begich said. "We had a robust discussion and I reminded him of the current law and asked why are we not enforcing that."

Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) -- two other Democrats facing reelection in 2014 -- have also said they may join Republicans in the filibuster.


Giffords Appears At Gun Control Hearing
Giffords Appears At Gun Control Hearing