Senate gun owners split on advancing gun bill

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, left, and Republican Sen. Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania, are both gun owners who voted to block a filibuster and have the Senate proceed to a gun bill.
  • In a USA TODAY survey%2C 46 senators said they own guns.
  • Gun owners were divided on whether to proceed to a gun bill in last week%27s vote.
  • Senators who say they do not own guns were much more likely to vote to advance a gun bill.
  • WASHINGTON — One interesting note from Thursday’s Senate vote to proceed on the gun bill: Senators who own guns were divided on the bill, but senators who say they do not own guns were mostly unified in favor of debate.

    USA TODAY and our Gannett partners surveyed members of Congress earlier this year to ask simply whether they owned guns.

    STORY:Who owns a gun in Congress?

    The result was a partisan split: 119 Republicans said they owned guns but only 46 Democrats said they do. Four more gun owners in the Senate have responded since then — Democrats Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, and Republicans John Hoeven of North Dakota and James Inhofe of Oklahoma. So the split is now 121 Republicans and 48 Democrats in Congress who say they own a gun.

    In the Senate, 28 Republicans and 18 Democrats have told USA TODAY they own guns, just under half the chamber’s 100 members.

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    In Thursday’s 68-31 Senate vote to head off a filibuster and proceed to a gun bill, 26 gun owners (including 10 Republicans) voted to proceed, while 20 gun owners voted against, including Democrats Mark Begich of Alaska and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.

    But among the 30 senators who have said they do not own guns, only three voted not to advance the bill: Republicans Dan Coats of Indiana, Mike Lee of Utah and Pat Roberts of Kansas.

    Of the 11 senators who never responded and the 13 who said they did not want to disclose whether they own a gun, four in each group – all Republicans – voted to block the gun bill.

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