The U.S. Senate on Monday voted down a series of bills that would tighten restrictions on firearm sales despite renewed calls for gun control in the wake of the Orlando nightclub massacre.
The Republicans, who hold the majority, and other National Rifle Association allies in the Senate, nixed four bills aimed at keeping firearms away from people on terrorism watch lists.
Critics argued the bills were too restrictive and violated Americans' constitutional right to bear arms.
Bill supporters, most of them Democrats, assailed opponents, who they characterized as operating in the pocket of the NRA.
"What am I going to tell the community of Orlando?" asked Senator Bill Nelson after the votes. "Sadly, what I'm going to tell them is the NRA won again."
Nelson's home state of Florida saw the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history June 12 when authorities say Omar Mateen stormed Pulse, a gay hotspot, and slaughtered down 49 people with an AR-15 style assault rifle.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rebuffed Democratic suggestions that Republicans are doing nothing to combat gun violence.
"No one wants terrorists to be able to buy guns," the Kentucky Republican said. "[We] are pursuing real solutions that can help keep Americans safer from the threat of terrorism."
The votes came after Senator Chris Murphy, a Republican from Connecticut, led a nearly 15-hour filibuster last week in response to the Orlando attack.
The move to strengthen gun laws would also be in sync with a shift in Americans' views, which polls show are increasingly in favor of such restrictions.