DENVER -- Supporters of nationwide universal background checks for gun buyers aren't giving up despite a defeat in the U.S. Senate, Sen. Mark Udall said Thursday.
Udall, a Colorado Democrat who voted for the measure, said public pressure for background checks will grow and that supporters see Wednesday's vote as only a temporary setback.
Fifty-four senators voted for background checks, but a 60-vote majority was required for passage by agreement of Senate leaders.
"There are a lot of dismayed, discouraged and disgusted people here in Washington," Udall said. "People are beyond puzzled why something that 90 percent of Americans supported could not be passed by the Senate."
The background checks measure was designed to keep criminals and people who are seriously mentally ill from buying firearms. Current federal law requires checks only when guns are purchased from federally licensed firearms dealers. The Senate proposal would have extended the requirement to sales at gun shows and on the Internet.
"The whole point of universal background checks is to focus on people, and to keep firearms out of the hands of the wrong people," Udall said, citing the familiar gun-rights slogan that "guns don't kill people; people kill people."
Colorado has a new law extending background checks to private and online gun sales, and another that bans ammunition magazines that hold more than 15 rounds. Both apply only within the state.
Udall voted Wednesday for a federal measure to limit the number of bullets a magazine can hold, but it too failed.
He voted against a ban on assault weapons, saying it was too broad and would have included some hunting rifles and shotguns. That measure also failed.
"Sportsmen, hunters, responsible gun owners agree we need to keep military-style weapons off our street," Udall said, but the measure before the Senate "went too far." ___