A Political and Moral Failure
Yesterday, the Senate failed to pass a gun violence prevention package, which included the bipartisan Toomey-Manchin amendment that would background checks. According to a CNN poll from 2011, an astounding 94% of Americans support background checks, which makes the Senate’s political and moral failure even more disappointing.
In response to the vote, the RAC’s deputy director Rachel Laser said:
“We are deeply troubled that the Senate failed to advance the bipartisan Toomey-Manchin amendment to expand background checks. Although this amendment had a bipartisan majority in the Senate, it did not receive the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster. Despite overwhelming public support for the expansion of background checks, the Senate failed to stand up even for a bipartisan compromise that could have meaningfully reduced the problem of gun violence across America…
We continue to support the base bill, the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013 (S.649), and also call on Senate Majority Leader Reid to return important amendments such as Toomey-Manchin to the floor for another vote.”
We remain optimistic that our voices will be heard in the halls of Congress and that sensible gun violence prevention measures will soon be enacted. Our clergy and lay leaders across the country have been true champions of gun violence prevention throughout this fight.
Rabbi Larry Sernovitz and Rev. Charles W. Quann wrote the following in an op-ed in the Jewish Exponent this morning:
“Today, we write saddened but more determined than ever. How can it be that even the tragic loss of the lives of 20 small children all at once, combined with the introduction of a bipartisan proposal, still could not break the gridlock that has defined Washington in recent years? We write as a rabbi and a minister — two clergy of different faiths but both with Philadelphia congregations — and both well aware of the problem. Pennsylvania reports the third highest rate of gun deaths in our nation, and, as clergy, we have witnessed gun violence ravage our own communities…
It is our collective duty to water the seeds planted by parents, victims and advocates from coast to coast by continuing to insist that our elected officials do what the vast majority of Americans want them to do — and pass an expanded background check law. We must not give up until we have realized the potential of meaningful steps forward, such as the Toomey-Manchin proposal. For the sake of Newtown, Aurora, Oak Creek, the city streets of Philadelphia — and for all of God’s children — we deserve another vote.”
Image courtesy of AP/J. Scott Applewhit