President Barack Obama's $500 million gun-control package faces an uncertain future on Capitol Hill, where majority House Republicans are rejecting his proposals while the president's allies in the Democratic-controlled Senate are stopping well short of pledging immediate action.
The fate of his plan could ultimately hinge on a handful of moderate Democratic senators. Although they are unlikely to endorse the president's call for banning assault weapons, they might go along with other proposals, such as requiring universal background checks on gun purchases.
Several of these senators responded warily after Obama unveiled his proposals Wednesday with the challenge that "Congress must act soon."
"I will look closely at all proposals on the table, but we must use common sense and respect our Constitution," said Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont. Tester told the Missoulian newspaper in his home state recently that he supports background checks but doesn't think an assault weapons ban would have stopped the shootings at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., where a gunman massacred 20 children and six adults before turning the gun on himself.