President Obama on Senate's Rejection of Expanded Background Checks

April 17, 2013

President Obama held a press conference at the White House to express his disappointment with the U.S. Senate's rejection of a bill to expand federal background checks for firearms buyers.

The President called it "a pretty shameful day for Washington". He was joined on the White House steps by former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and family members of victims of gun violence.

Supporters of the bill couldn't get the 60 votes needed to push the bill past a group made up mostly of Republican Senators, and a few Democrats, who voted against the bill.

"It begs the question, who are we here to represent?" President Obama said.

"I've heard folks say that having the families of victims
lobby for this legislation was somehow misplaced. 'A prop,'
somebody called them. 'Emotional blackmail,' some outlets said.
Are they serious? Do we really think 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?"

Gun rights advocates insist that this bill represents the first step down a slippery slope. Senator Mitch McConnell, who voted against the bill said, "The government shouldn't punish or harass law-abiding citizens."

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