Thursday, 18 April 2013

NRA-controlled Senators reject 'background checks,' supported by 90% of America

NRA-controlled Senators reject 'background checks,' supported by 90% of America, In spite of the fact that ninety percent of Americans support "universal background checks," ninety percent of Republicans in the United States Senate voted against the wishes of the American people. Yesterday, the United States Senate rejected a bill that would have required "universal background checks."

The vote was 54-46 in favor of the bill, however, 60 votes were needed for passage because of United States Senate rules. Several red-state Democrats that are for reelection in 2014, including Sens. Max Baucus of Montana, Mark Begich of Alaska and Mark Pryor of Arkansas, voted against the bill, costing President Barack Obama and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) key support.

Most disappointing was the vote of Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, who was recently elected to the Senate in November. She also voted against the measure, in spite of heavy lobbying of her by the Obama Administration.

Senator Harry Reid switched his vote "yes" vote to a “no” vote at the last minute, allowing him under Senate rules to bring up the measure again.

A visibly angry President Obama said that "a common-sense proposal supported by 90 percent of Americans was rejected. It‘s a proposal that will save lives without interfering with the rights of responsible, law-abiding gun owners."

Joining President Obama in the Rose Garden were Vice President Joe Biden, Gabby Giffords, Jimmy Greene (father of Ana Grace Marquez-Greene), Nicole Hockley (mother of Dylan Hockley), Jeremy Richman (father of Avielle Richman), Neil Heslin (father of Jesse Lewis).

President Obama was also joined by the Barden family, who lost their family member, seven-year old Daniel Barden. Daniel's father, Mark Barden, addressed those in the Rose Graden. Daniel's mother, Jackie Barden was there, as were Daniel's siblings, Natalie Barden (age 11) and James Barden (age 13). The family has been lobbying the United States Senate to pass "common sense" gun laws, specifically, "universal background checks."

Mark Barden said in the Rose Garden "Just four months ago, my wife Jackie and I lost our son, and our children, James and Natalie, they lost their little brother Daniel. Daniel was a first-grader at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Our sweet, 7-year-old Daniel was one of 20 children, six adults lost on December 14th. I have to say it feels like it was just yesterday."

Mark Barden said that if it "happened in Newtown, it can happen anywhere. In any instant, any dad in America could be in my shoes. No one should feel the pain. No one should feel our pain or the pain felt by the tens of thousands of people who’ve lost loved ones to senseless gun violence."

"And that's why we're here," said Mark Barden.

Mark Barden defended the proposal as a "common sense solution. "It‘s a proposal that will save lives without interfering with the rights of responsible, law-abiding gun owners."

Mark Barden promised that "We will not be defeated. We are not defeated, and we will not be defeated. We are here now; we will always be here because we have no other choice. We are not going away. And every day, as more people are killed in this country because of gun violence, our determination grows stronger."

Mark Barden introduced President Obama who said "By now, it’s well known that 90 percent of the American people support universal background checks that make it harder for a dangerous person to buy a gun. We’re talking about convicted felons, people convicted of domestic violence, people with a severe mental illness. Ninety percent of Americans support that idea."

President Obama expressed outrage at the irony that "90 percent of Democrats in the Senate just voted for that idea. But it’s not going to happen because 90 percent of Republicans in the Senate just voted against that idea."

President Obama said that "the American people are trying to figure out how can something have 90 percent support and yet not happen. We had a Democrat and a Republican -– both gun owners, both fierce defenders of our Second Amendment, with “A” grades from the NRA -- come together and worked together to write a common-sense compromise on background checks."

President Obama singled out Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Pat Tomey (R-PA), as he said, "I want to thank Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey for their courage in doing that. That was not easy given their traditional strong support for Second Amendment rights. As they said, nobody could honestly claim that the package they put together infringed on our Second Amendment rights."

Then President Obama took on the National Rifle Association that "instead of supporting this compromise, the gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill. They claimed that it would create some sort of 'big brother' gun registry, even though the bill did the opposite. This legislation, in fact, outlawed any registry. Plain and simple, right there in the text."

President Obama also took on the criticism that "having the families of victims lobby for this legislation was somehow misplaced."

Many have called it a "prop." Some said it is "emotional blackmail.”

"Are they serious? Do we really think that thousands of families whose lives have been shattered by gun violence don’t have a right to weigh in on this issue? Do we think their emotions, their loss is not relevant to this debate?" said the President.

President Obama vowed to continue fighting. "I want to make it clear to the American people we can still bring about meaningful changes that reduce gun violence, so long as the American people don’t give up on it. Even without Congress, my administration will keep doing everything it can to protect more of our communities. We’re going to address the barriers that prevent states from participating in the existing background check system. We’re going to give law enforcement more information about lost and stolen guns so it can do its job. We’re going to help to put in place emergency plans to protect our children in their schools."

He called on the american people "to let your representatives in Congress know that you are disappointed, and that if they don’t act this time, you will remember come election time. To the wide majority of NRA households who supported this legislation, you need to let your leadership and lobbyists in Washington know they didn’t represent your views on this one."

"And I see this as just round one. When Newtown happened, I met with these families and I spoke to the community, and I said, something must be different right now. We’re going to have to change. That's what the whole country said. Everybody talked about how we were going to change something to make sure this didn't happen again, just like everybody talked about how we needed to do something after Aurora. Everybody talked about we needed change something after Tucson," the President said.

With ninety percent support of the American people, there is no question that this fight is far from over.

Send John Presta an email and your story ideas or suggestions, johnpresta@att.net.

John is the author of an award-winning book, the 2010 Winner of the USA National Best Book award for African American studies, published by The Elevator Group, Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots. Also available an eBook on Amazon. John is also a member of the Society of Midland Authors and is a book reviewer of political books for the New York Journal of Books. John has volunteered for many political campaigns.

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