Montana News

Apr 20, 2013 3:19 PM by MTN News - Bozeman

Both sides of gun debate gather outside Baucus office

BOZEMAN - More than 30 people spent the lunch hour on Friday outside the Bozeman office of U.S. Senator Max Baucus (D-MT).

Most of them were in favor of expanded federal gun control measures and were protesting Baucus' vote this week against the Manchin-Toomey Amendment; they say Baucus let them down.

Karen Renne said, "By voting against a law that would strengthen the background checks...and make it harder to buy guns, harder to buy assault weapons...I guess we need a better Democrat."

About a half dozen gun rights advocates also showed up outside of his office, some of them armed to show their support of the Senator's vote.

Paul Landsgaard said, "We'll support Max when he does right, and won't support him when he does wrong."

(April 18, 2013) The U.S. Senate on Wednesday rejected a call for expanded background checks on gun purchases, with Montana's senators splitting their votes.

The vote was on the Manchin/Toomey amendment to expand checks to cover all firearms sales at gun shows and over the Internet, while exempting sales between friends and acquaintances.

U.S. Senator Max Baucus was one of five Democrats who voted no on the measure, while U.S. Senator Jon Tester, also a Democrat, voted yes.

In a press release, Baucus said, "Montanans have told me loud and clear that they oppose any new gun controls. And I very much respect that - I agree. I represent Montana and I will oppose legislation that establishes new gun controls."

Tester said earlier this week that "...the plan will make communities safer while protecting Montanans' Second Amendment rights and preventing the creation of a national gun registry."

The vote is a blow to President Obama's gun control agenda, with the U.S. Senate expected to drop plans to ban military style semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips.

Sources on Capitol Hill say Democrats are unlikely to rally behind an alternative expansion to background checks.

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