WASHINGTON - The Senate rejected an amendment, Wednesday, that would have let people carry guns across state lines as long as they had a permit from their home state.
Sponsor John Thune, R-S.D., said the measure would keep innocent gun owners from getting tripped up by tricky gun laws.
"So that people, law-abiding citizens, not the criminals who are being referred to here who commit the crimes in this country, but law-abiding individuals who want to defend themselves against those very criminals have the opportunity to do so by being able to possess a firearm if they have a conceal carry permit," he said.
Liberals were outraged at the Senate's decision, which comes as a major setback for gun rights advocates.
"Is it so important that everybody carry a gun everywhere?" Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., asked. "Or do we want to respect state rights to determine what's safe for their own state?"
There was even more outrage in states like New York which have tighter gun restrictions.
"I'm criticizing a piece of legislation that's going to put you and your family in danger no matter where in this country you live," New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg said.
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said the people of New York have a lot of freedom with weapons.
"People could go to Vermont, bring a whole knapsack of guns back and carry them in Central Park or South Bronx," he said. "No questions asked. Police are not allowed to do a thing."
Thune and fellow conservatives like South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said such objections were overblown.
"This argument that somehow people are going to start carrying a bunch of weapons across the border makes no sense because whatever federal restrictions there are on arms trafficking still stands," she said.
Still, gun advocates in the Senate lost this battle. They needed 60 votes and fell two votes short.