Forget a ban on powerful assault weapons or high-capacity magazines. Forget other common-sense gun restrictions.
The U.S. Senate has refused to pass even the one gun violence reform that has near-universal support from voters.
Ninety percent of Americans favor requiring background checks for the purchase of a gun.
But only 54 members of the Senate supported it Wednesday, falling far short of the 60 votes required to override a Republican-led filibuster of the legislation.
The bill was a compromise crafted by two conservative, "pro-gun,' NRA-supported lawmakers, Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.
It came at a time of significant momentum for measures that would do something to prevent or mitigate the kind of horror that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Connecticut just got Republican leadership on board to pass the toughest gun control law in the country, including an expanded assault weapons ban, restriction of high-capacity magazines and background checks.
It should have been a slam-dunk, and it begs the question:
Why couldn't Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid get this done, and is he the right leader for Democrats at a time of critical importance for the nation?
Reid ignored broad public consensus for reform of the Senate's filibuster process and reached a deal with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell that preserves the right of a minority of 41 senators to block any piece of legislation with a simple vote. Reformers have pushed for a filibuster process allowing a senator to delay action on legislation only as long as they were able to keep up a floor speech, a la Jimmy Stewart in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.'
Then, as President Obama, Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy and Newtown families pushed for Connecticut-style action on guns, Reid planted constant seeds of doubt.
He expressed support, but kept on indicating that the legislation had little to no chance of passing.
Reid, who has been tight with the NRA in the past, stripped Senate legislation of a proposed ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines in March for this reason, sparking outrage among gun control advocates. The New York Daily News front pages including "Gutless Cowards' and "Shame on U.S.,' with photos of the 20 children who died at Sandy Hook.
Of course, Republicans leading the filibuster effort against background checks, and the four "red state' Democrats who joined them on Wednesday should be ashamed of kowtowing to the NRA.
But if Reid were committed to the issue, and really wanted such a low-risk (as in, 90 percent of voters support it) bill to pass, he has the power and could have made it happen.
That starts with a strong, consistent public message, continues with confidence and resolution to get it done and ends with swaying individual senators votes the way Reid does on other pieces of legislation, by trading favors or whatever it takes.
Connecticut's delegation is right to criticize Republicans for obstruction of this basic, common-sense reform. But they would be more effective right now in demanding better of their own party's leadership.