Senator: Gun control 'not likely' in wake of Charleston massacre
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Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeySasse rebuked by Nebraska Republican Party over impeachment vote Philly GOP commissioner on censures: 'I would suggest they censure Republican elected officials who are lying' Toomey censured by several Pennsylvania county GOP committees over impeachment vote MORE (R-Pa.), who helped lead a bipartisan effort to expand background checks in the wake of a Connecticut elementary school shooting, cautioned that a new gun control push is "not likely" in the wake of a mass shooting at a church in South Carolina.

"Honestly, I don’t want to build up any false expectations. I’m not aware that we have the votes to do what Sen. Manchin and I attempted," he said Wednesday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

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"Is it possible that some portion of that, some subset of what we focused on is possible? Honestly, probably not likely."

Toomey's pessimism comes just one week after a shooting in a historically black church in Charleston, S.C., killed nine congregants. The suspect, a 21-year-old white man named Dylann Roof, reportedly told police he wanted to ignite a race war.

There are conflicting reports on how Roof obtained the gun he allegedly used in the shooting. But The Greenville News reports that the drug charge Roof is awaiting trial on is not a felony, despite previous reports, so it would not have caused him to fail a gun background check.

Toomey's legislation, which narrowly failed to surmount a Senate filibuster in 2013, would have expanded background checks to include Internet and gun show sales.

During the interview, he said background checks have already been "accepted for so many years" but lamented the lack of support to "complete the process." He added that the vast majority of people already believe that the mentally ill and criminals should not possess guns, but the legislation still became "controversial."

"We all agree that people in those two categories shouldn’t have guns; it's not a controversial idea. Unfortunately, it became controversial," he said.

"I'm very disappointed. I think some people mischaracterized the legislation, but look, it’s the right thing to do."