A divided Senate answers Orlando with gridlock on gun curbs

Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., left, and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, arrive for a vote on Capitol Hill on Monday, June 20, 2016, in Washington.

WASHINGTON - A divided Senate blocked rival election-year plans to curb guns Monday, eight days after the horror of Orlando's mass shooting intensified pressure on lawmakers to act but knotted them in gridlock anyway - even over restricting firearms for terrorists.

In largely party-line votes, senators rejected one proposal from each side to keep extremists from acquiring guns and a second shoring up the government's system of required background checks for many firearms purchases.

With the chamber's visitors' galleries unusually crowded for a Monday evening - including relatives of victims of past mass shootings and people wearing orange T-shirts saying #ENOUGH gun violence - each measure fell short of the 60 votes needed to progress. Democrats called the GOP proposals unacceptably weak while Republicans said the Democratic plans were too restrictive.

The