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Sen. Reid speaks for gun background bill, but votes against it

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LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

Not every politician voted the way you might expect in Washington on Wednesday.

"Very few things that 90 percent of Americans agree on, expanding background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, terrorists and those with mental illness is one of them," Nevada Sen. Harry Reid told reporters after the vote.

Reid spoke strongly in favor of the bill throughout the day, but during the final tally, he voted against it.

"I think a lot of people are going to read the roll call for that vote and assume (Reid) voted against it. He didn't," Ladd Everitt, communications director for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, told FOX5.

Everitt said Reid changed his vote at the very last second for procedural reasons: "To allow himself to file a motion to reconsider to potentially bring that bill back up for consideration again."

According to Everitt, Senate rules state a senator must vote with the majority in order to file a motion to reconsider.

Reid himself tried to clear up the confusion, posting on his Facebook page an explanation of his voting tactic and linking a Washington Post article describing his history of doing it.

View Reid's Facebook post

"This is just the beginning. This is not the end," Reid told reporters in Washington.

FOX5 political analyst Mitch Fox said even if Reid is successful in bringing back the bill and even passing it in the Senate, it still has a difficult road ahead.

"Any substitutive comprehensive gun control legislation passing out of the United States Senate would be doomed for defeat in the House of Representatives," Fox said.

Meanwhile, Nevada's other senator, Dean Heller, also voted against the bill.

Heller released this statement explaining why:

"When it comes to national policy choices on issues such as Constitutional liberties, gun violence and public safety, the stakes could not be higher. The enormity of this issue has weighed heavily on me. While I was home this past weekend, my family and I ate at the Carson IHOP where four people lost their lives and several were injured. The survivors of that senseless shooting in the morning hours of September 6, 2011, deserve this debate.

"I believe very strongly that our current background check system needs strengthening and improving, particularly in areas that could keep guns out of the hands of felons and the mentally ill. At the same time, I cannot support legislation that infringes upon the Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. Despite the good faith efforts of Senators Manchin and Toomey, the onerous paperwork and expansion of federal power mandated in this legislation are too great of a concern. I believe that this legislation could lead to the creation of a national gun registry and puts additional burdens on law-abiding citizens. For these reasons, I cannot vote for this legislation."

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