(ABC NEWS) -- For families of Newtown victims, watching the Senate vote down gun control wasn't easy.
They had met with senators to press for new restrictions on gun sales, but on Wednesday, the upper chamber rejected its likeliest chance for compromise on gun control: a bipartisan deal between Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., to expand federal background checks to gun shows and online sales of guns. Family members of gun-violence victims were on hand for the vote.
After the vote, the victims' families spoke with ABC's Jonathan Karl in an exclusive interview.
"I think we kind of had known that it probably wasn't going to pass. I was kind of disappointed, because we worked so hard trying to maybe, I don't know, like really get our ideas across because -- it shouldn't be a partisan issue, it's just common sense," said James Barden, 13, whose 7-year-old brother Daniel was killed in the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
"I feel that we owe it to Daniel cause his life needs to mean something," Barden said, on why he pushed for gun legislation after the Sandy Hook shooting.
"I've never done anything like this before, it's different," 11-year-old Natalie said. Asked what she wants the world to know about her brother, Natalie told ABC, "He was just so thoughtful and he thought about everybody. He was always happy."
Newtown family members stood behind President Obama Wednesday afternoon as he admonished lawmakers for siding against new limits on gun sales. Mark Barden, Daniel's father, introduced the president and pledged that the fight over gun legislation isn't over.
Jimmy Greene, whose daughter Ana Marquez-Greene was killed in the shooting, echoed his point.
"If 90 percent of Americans favor these common-sense solutions, then it follows that 90 percent of their elected representatives should vote that way," Greene told ABC. "We're in this for the long haul. We don't have the choice of turning around. We need to honor the ones that we've lost and to move forward to make sure that no other families have to suffer the way we are."
After Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., suggested Wednesday morning that Newtown families were being used as "props" in the debate over gun control, family members took offense.
"He's wrong. We lost our son. Jeremy lost his only child. Jimmy lost his daughter. We don't need anybody to tell us what to do," Greene said.
"We don't have a political agenda, we just don't want other people to have to suffer through this. We want their passing to mean something to them, to have a purpose," said Jeremy Richman, whose 6-year-old daughter Avielle was killed in the shooting.
"When people say we are being used, it's--we don't understand it because it's just--we don't want other families to go through what we are going through, its awful," said Jackie Barden, mother of Daniel.