45 Senators Side with Gun Lobby As Newtown Families Look On
You’d think that more than 90 percent of the American people and 55 senators — a majority — in favor of something would be enough to get it done. You would be wrong. Late this afternoon, a minority of senators “chose instead to obey the leaders of the powerful corporate gun lobby, instead of their constituents,” as former Rep. Gabby Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly said following the vote.
These 45 senators, most but not all of whom were Republicans, voted against a bipartisan compromise to expand background checks in order to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and other dangerous people. 90 percent of Democrats voted for expanding background checks, but 90 percent of Republicans voted no. As New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, today’s vote “handed criminals a huge victory, by preserving their ability to buy guns illegally at gun shows and online and keeping the illegal trafficking market well-fed.”
That wasn’t the end of it. A bipartisan plan to crack down on gun trafficking — a plan even the NRA agreed to — also failed to attract the necessary 60 votes. A ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, something backed by a majority of Americans, was also voted down.
Worse yet, all of this happened as Newtown families and other victims of gun violence looked on from the Senate gallery. One woman, a survivor of the Tucson shooting, shouted “shame on you!” after they watched senators vote down background checks.
Despite today’s setback, President Obama, Newtown parents, and other gun violence prevention advocates vowed to continue the fight to keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them. In fact, it’s time for all of us to redouble our commitment to action and let our elected leaders know that there’s a price for ignoring 90 percent of us.
BOTTOM LINE: Every day that we fail to pass comprehensive background checks is a day we put at risk the safety of our children, our law enforcement, our neighbors—indeed, the safety of all Americans. The price of the Senate’s inaction will be paid by the Americans whose names will be added to the list of gun-violence victims every day as a result.
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