It was April, 2013. Just 4 months after the shocking massacre of innocent little children in the elementary classrooms of Sandy Hook Elementary School.
President Obama was hopeful that at last we might move toward comprehensive background checks on gun sales. He believed that after watching parents collapse in grief over the deaths of their babies, the Senate would finally have the moral courage to take action.
Mother Jones reported that a bipartisan amendment to a gun control bill had been crafted by Senators Joe Manchin (R-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.). Both men were gun owners. Both had an A rating from the NRA. The proposed amendment would have made minor changes to a broader gun control bill being considered by the Senate which was designed to provide more background checks.
You’ll probably remember that in December, 2012, a mentally troubled young man walked into the Sandy Hook Elementary School and slaughtered twenty six people, including twenty young children.
After that horrific event, there were many calls for improved and increased background checks before anyone could buy a gun. Even super conservative NRA supporter Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) called at that time for a more comprehensive background check system. There was a lot of talk about keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.
Enter the Manchin-Toomey Amendment.
At that point, federal law only mandated background checks when guns were sold by federally licensed gun sellers. People could buy guns at gun shows without being checked. Anyone could go online and buy weapons and ammunition.
The Manchin-Toomey Amendment called for background checks for guns sold on the internet or at gun shows. The Senate was considering a bill asking for background checks on all gun sales, even those between friends and family. The very moderate Manchin-Toomey Amendment tried to find a compromise. It would have allowed guns to be sold between family members with no background checks.
Let’s repeat that.
Two Senators, one a Democrat and one a Republican, found a reasonable way to ensure that criminals and the mentally ill could not buy deadly weapons. This was 4 very short months after the Sandy Hook massacre.
The Amendment did not pass.
.@marcorubio you voted against Manchin-Toomey amendment for bckgrnd checks that might have stopped this guy. How can you live w/ yourself?
— tweetingWien (@tweetingWien) June 12, 2016
It did not pass because 45 Unites States Senators voted against background checks on gun sales. Five Democrats voted no, as did 40 Republicans.
It’s worth noting that among the Senators who voted against the Amendment was Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla). Likewise Sen. Ted Cruz, who had supported greater background checks 3 months earlier. Also voting no were Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky). All of these men have since run for President.
Why would so many senators vote against such a logical, simple, reasonable approach to gun safety?
The NRA and its lobbying groups had spent over $81 million on elections at the state and national levels from 2000 to 2013.
That money equals power, and the NRA has been more than willing to wield it. Records show that 43 of the 46 senators who voted against the amendment had received money from the NRA.
Its obvious why these elected leaders would vote against the best interests of the county. It’s also disgusting.
If you would like to read the names of the cowards who bowed to the NRA, you can see the list here.
This video shows the depth of frustration and grief caused by guns in this country.
Featured Image A Screenshot Of PBS NewsHour Video Via YouTube.