Reid says gun debate isn't over

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Friday that Democrats will continue to push for new restrictions on gun ownership, in a floor speech he delivered just one day before the one-year anniversary of the Newtown, Conn., shooting that left 26 dead.

"Last December I promised the families a meaningful conversation about how to change America's culture of violence," Reid said. "I want everyone within the sound of my voice to know that the conversation is not over.

"The American people will prevail on this issue."

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Reid did not lay out a specific timetable for action in the Senate, but said 85 percent of Americans agree on limiting gun availability to people with criminal backgrounds or with a mental illness.

"Why should someone that has severe mental illness and someone who is a criminal be able to purchase a gun? They shouldn't," he said. "Those that are trying to stop that legislation from going forward should be embarrassed and ashamed of themselves."

Adam Lanza shot and killed 26 people in Newtown’s Sandy Hook School last December, including 20 children and six school employees. Lanza, who suffered mental health issues, then killed himself. 

In April, Reid pulled a gun bill that was being considered in the Senate after comprehensive proposals to restrict guns were voted down in the Senate.

The bill Reid pulled included language to boost funding for menial health. However, the Senate defeated language banning military rifles, capping the size of legal ammunition clips and requiring background checks on almost all gun sales.

Reid has not indicated if or when that bill may be taken up again, but he called on survivors of the Newtown tragedy not to give up hope.

"I urge the families and friends of those killed in Newtown to never lose hope, never lose hope," he said.