A call to arms for 'common sense' gun control


by Chris Patterson

(CNN) -- The drive for a tough federal gun control law has hit a political roadblock. But that's not silencing Joe Biden and Mike Bloomberg.

The loquacious vice president and the outspoken New York mayor on Thursday touted what they term the "importance of passing common sense legislation to reduce gun violence," including the need for a stiff background check system for all gun sales.

They joined families of those killed last December in the Newtown shooting massacre to push for new rules. They spoke as prospects for a ban on semi-automatic weapons appeared to flounder.

Mayor Bloomberg cited public opinion polls citing wide support for background checks, saying "there's no real debate" among Americans about this issue.

"We remain optimistic that Congress will take action this spring," he said.

The ban, categorically opposed by the National Rifle Association, would get fewer than 40 votes, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday, far below the threshold needed to defeat a filibuster or pass the Senate. Instead, the ban could be offered as an amendment to the gun legislation on the Senate floor in order to get a vote on it, Reid said.