Nightly News   |  April 17, 2013

Obama: Background check failure ‘shameful’

During a speech in the Rose Garden following a vote on the compromise measure to expand gun background checks, President Obama said the gun lobby and its allies “willfully lied” about the bill, claiming it would create a “Big Brother” gun registry. NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> time ago at the white house , surrounded by victims of gun violence including newtown families, president obama showed a rare flash of anger because the gun control legislation that was supposed to tighten background checks was defeated today in the u.s. senate . the president called it a pretty shameful day for washington. nbc's kelly o'donnell with us from capitol hill tonight. kelly , good evening.

>> reporter: good evening, brian. the mood inside the senate chamber which was packed was intense with emotion as gun victims, survivors and many of the newtown families watched senators they had personally met with vote down expanded background checks . tonight, the president gave the rose garden microphone over to a newtown dad, mark backwarden.

>> we'll return home now, disappointed but not defeated.

>> reporter: the president clearly angry.

>> the gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill.

>> reporter: lashed out at congress.

>> this was a pretty shameful day for washington. this effort is not over. i want to make it clear to the american people . we can still bring about meaningful changes that reduce gun violence so long as the american people don't give up on it.

>> reporter: from the steps of air force one last week to the u.s. capitol again today, newtown families who know the pain of gun violence had been unwilling to give up.

>> our hearts are broken. our spirit is not.

>> reporter: gabrielle giffords who has lobbied senators called the failure to pass expanded background checks unthinkable. today being heard or consoled was not enough for patricia. tucson shooting survivor who shouted at senators, "shame on you."

>> shame on you!

>> order in the senate.

>> reporter: some newtown families held more private families. no media coverage . republican senator mark kirk 's staff took these pictures. the latest nbc maris poll shows nearly 9 of 10 surveyed want tighter restrictions on gun sales. four republicans voted yes to extend background checks to commercial sales at gun shows and the internet.

>> expanded background checks would not have prevented newtown .

>> reporter: conservative opposition was strong.

>> this is the first step in the erosion of our rights under the second amendment.

>> we are trying to take it to the violent criminal. rather than taking it to the second amendment law abiding citizen.

>> reporter: usually a vice president arrives to preside over a winning vote. biden was here to witness its defeat.

>> the amendment is not agreed to.

>> reporter: four democrats from red states with high gun ownership also voted no. in talking to those democrats who voted no, they say they had intense pressure from their home state constituents who did not want to see expanded background checks . also tonight, senators voted down an assault weapons ban and limits on high capacity ammunition. it is possible that democrats will simply shelve this legislation in order to try again some day down the line. brian?

>> again, the president calling this round one. kelly o'donnell on the hill tonight after an eventful day there. kelly , thanks.