Last month, the bipartisan proposal to expand background checks in the Senate failed with a majority of 54 senators voting to support the bill.
Obama angrily criticized the NRA and those senators who voted against the expanded background checks for rejecting a compromise that was supported by a large majority of Americans. He insisted: “Instead of supporting this compromise, the gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill.” Polls showed nearly 90 percent support for the measure. Obama called the vote a “pretty shameful day for Washington” and wondered: “Who are we here to represent?”
Obama was flanked by relatives of gun violence victims as well as Gabrielle Giffords, a gun owner who was disabled in a shooting attack and supported Obama’s proposals. A statement by Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, said that the Senate had “ignored the will of the American people,” and that those senators who voted against the expanded background checks chose to “obey the leaders of the powerful corporate gun lobby, instead of their constituents.”
Erica Lafferty, the daughter of the principal of the Newtown, Conn., school who was killed said the vote amounted to inaction in the face of a national tragedy. She predicted: “The next time there’s a mass shooting and they’re asked what they did to prevent it, they’re going to have to say nothing.”
Sen. Joe Manchin, the Democratic sponsor of the bill, insists: “Let me show you the section that says if anybody tries to use it for a registry, it will be a felony with 15 years of imprisonment. We made it much more difficult and challenging. And no one has ever had a registry up until now and we made it even more difficult, and much more a crime, as far as criminal actions.”