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Ayotte: ‘I don’t support a filibuster’ for gun-control legislation

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) on Tuesday became the third Republican senator in recent days to openly criticize her GOP Senate colleagues over a planned filibuster of gun-control legislation.

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“I don’t support a filibuster for this,” she said on MSNBC’s "Andrea Mitchell Reports." “I think that there should be [a vote], provided that there are amendments, and that we can have a full and robust debate. I think that’s the way to go forward on an important issue, particularly obviously the Second Amendment is very important to the Constitution, and also making sure that the people who shouldn’t have guns don’t have them.”

Ayotte joins Republican Sens. Johnny Isakson (Ga.) and John McCain (Ariz.) in opposing a filibuster.

Isakson said Tuesday that he believes the Senate gun-control bill deserves an up-or-down vote. Over the weekend, McCain said he didn’t “understand” the move to block debate.

In March, a group of Republican lawmakers, led by Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.), Mike Lee (Utah), Ted Cruz (Texas) and Marco Rubio (Fla.), wrote to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pledging to “oppose the motion to proceed to any legislation that will serve as a vehicle for any additional gun restrictions.”

The group now counts 13 Republican senators vowing to filibuster gun control legislation.

If all Senate Democrats and Independents agree to allow a vote on the bill, Reid needs only five Republicans to be on board.

Reid has promised an open amendment process on the Senate floor, leaving Democrats, and some Republicans, questioning the reasoning behind the filibuster threat. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who is working on a possible compromise on universal background checks with Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), lashed out at the idea on Tuesday.

“For anyone to talk about a filibuster when you’ve been given everything you’ve asked for doesn’t make any sense to me,” Manchin told reporters. “Why would they be arguing and saying we’re going to filibuster when everything they’ve asked for – an open ended amendment process – we’re all big guys and big ladies; we can take a vote and it is what it is.”

Reid told reporters at the Capitol on Tuesday he plans to file for cloture on the bill on Tuesday night and bring it to the floor for a potential vote on Thursday.