Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords slammed Senators who “gave into fear and blocked common-sense legislation” on requiring background checks for gun purchases — a measure supported by nearly 90 percent of Americans — in a New York Times op-ed.
“Speaking is physically difficult for me. But my feelings are clear: I’m furious,” Giffords, herself a victim of gun violence, wrote in her response to the Senate vote. “I will not rest until we have righted the wrong these senators have done, and until we have changed our laws so we can look parents in the face and say: We are trying to keep your children safe. We cannot allow the status quo — desperately protected by the gun lobby so that they can make more money by spreading fear and misinformation — to go on.”
The background check measure was crafted by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.). It was seen as a key component to passing the first legislation in over a decade to address mass shootings such as the one that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December and the Aurora, Colorado shooting in July. The amendment failed by a vote of 54-46, falling just short of the 60 votes required to break a filibuster.
The last time the Senate began considering gun control legislation in response to a mass shooting was in 1999 following the Columbine High School massacre. A bill proposed by Rep. Orrin Hatch to curb juvenile violence and close the “gun show” loophole just barely passed by a 48-47 vote. Of the eight current Republican senators who voted for Hatch’s background check bill 14 years ago, only two — Susan Collins and John McCain — supported the Toomey-Manchin proposal.
Giffords’ op-ed was actually her second criticism of senators failing to pass gun control legislation.
“Moments ago, the U.S. Senate decided to do the unthinkable about gun violence — nothing at all,” Giffords wrote in a fundraising email sent out just seconds after the vote. “Over two years ago, when I was shot point-blank in the head, the U.S. Senate chose to do nothing. Four months ago, 20 first-graders lost their lives in a brutal attack on their school, and the U.S. Senate chose to do nothing. It’s clear to me that if members of the U.S. Senate refuse to change the laws to reduce gun violence, then we need to change the members of the U.S. Senate.”
Giffords’ sentiment echoed that of President Obama, who called the vote a “shameful day for Washington.”
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