Obama vows to keep at gun control: ‘This is just the first round’

By Michael O’Brien, Political Reporter, NBC News

President Barack Obama vowed Thursday during a trip to Mexico to continue pushing for new, tighter gun control rules in the United States, saying his proposals’ recent defeat in Congress was “just the first round.”

Speaking following a meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, whose country has been ravaged by gang violence supported in part by gun trafficking into Mexico, Obama vowed to return to the issue of gun control in the United States.

Henry Romero / Henry Romero / Reuters

President Barack Obama and Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto speak during a news conference after attending a bilateral meeting at the National Palace in Mexico City May 2, 2013.

“The last time we had major gun legislation, it took 6, 7, 8 tries to get passed,” Obama said at a press conference following his meeting with the Mexican president. “Things happen somewhat slowly in Washington, but this is just the first round.”

Democratic leaders in the Senate were forced to shelve a bipartisan proposal expanding background checks for firearms sold online and at gun shows when it failed to receive the requisite 60 votes to survive a filibuster threat. The measure’s Democratic proposal, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, has vowed to fight to bring that proposal back up for another vote.

And in an article published Wednesday, the proposal’s Republican author, Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, suggested that politics were afoot in many GOP senators’ decision to oppose the package.

“There were some on my side who did not want to be seen helping the president do something he wanted to get done, just because the president wanted to do it,” Toomey told local newspaper editors.

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Congress is away from Washington this week for a scheduled recess, but the issue of guns has followed members back to their states and their districts. Gun control advocates have aired ads targeting key senators for their votes in their respective states, and Democratic groups have trailed New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte throughout her state this week to put public pressure on the first-term senator for her vote during public town hall meetings.

The president and his allies are relying on the fact that public opinion is largely on their side when it comes to the specific gun proposals being floated by the administration.

“When you’ve got 90 percent of the American people supporting the initiatives that we put forward … I believe that eventually we’re going to get that done, and I’m going to keep on trying,” he said.