obama (screenshot - reacts to background checks loss)*Dang, it’s enough to make you wonder if your opinion or even your vote even matters.

We’re talking about the way the NRA and Congress (mostly Republicans) just outright said screw you to President Obama, the families of the Newtown, Conn. massacre victims and even 90 percent the American public that was in favor of sensible gun-control legislation.

Of course the gun control bill was essentially watered down one that supports background checks for sales made online and at gun shows. But even that failed on a 54-46 vote, six short of the 60 votes it needed to clear a procedural hurdle in the Senate.

It was a stark reminder of the gun culture’s hold on America – or at least its politics – and a display of how each party has used Senate rules to effectively block legislation even when it has the support of the majority.

At the White House, a visibly angry Obama said he sympathized with Americans who were trying to make sense of it all.

“This was a pretty shameful day for Washington,” said Obama, flanked by Newtown families and former Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who was severely wounded in a 2011 mass shooting in Arizona.

“I see this as just Round One,” Obama said. “Sooner or later, we are going to get this right. The memories of these children demand it.”

The plan by Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania to expand background checks represented Obama’s best hope to pass meaningful gun-control legislation after the killings of 20 children and six adults at Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Other measures backed by the president – including a proposal to ban rapid-firing “assault” weapons like the one used in Connecticut and a limit on ammunition clips – also failed in a series of Senate votes that reflected senators’ reluctance to be seen as undermining the constitutional right to bear arms.

Read/learn more at Reuters.

Watch an angry President Obama react to Congress’ action, or lack thereof, on the background checks bill: