The Senate vote on gun reform was astoundingly shameful and flies in the face of what the majority of Americans want. The response has been immediate and strong, as reflected in the media nationwide. The Dallas Morning News: “They allowed themselves to be cowed into submissiveness by … NRA members who threatened retribution against anyone who voted in favor of the bill.” The Asbury Park Press: “Twenty dead schoolchildren weren’t enough Wednesday for a U.S. Senate cowed by the NRA.” In USA Today: “It’s hard to exaggerate what a shameful display the Senate votes were, or what a distortion of democracy.”
While the Senate stymies protective measures, the country pays the price. The N.Y. Times contains a running column titled “The Gun Report.” On March 19, they reported that, on that date, an estimated 2.793 Americans had died because of guns since Newtown on Dec. 14, 2012, surpassing the official recorded death toll of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, which stands at 2,752. As of April 25, “The Gun Report” listed the number since Newtown had grown to an estimated 3,672 people killed by guns.
How many more of us will fall victim to gun violence before Washington lives up to its responsibility? Maybe we should ask the National Rifle Association. NRA lobbyists pay senators to vote favorably regarding gun legislation. In fact, the gun lobby has funded all but three of those who voted no to the proposed gun bill. “The Senate 46,” as they have been called, includes Mark Pryor, D-Ark., and Richard Burr, R-N.C., who received $1,000 each from various NRA lobbyists.
Our senators, including our own Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, should keep in mind that such flagrant disregard for the public’s safety could come back to haunt them. The next election will be our chance to vote. If they don’t care for us, maybe we shouldn’t care to keep them in office.
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The writer lives in Conway.