Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) released the following statement today after a bill to require background checks for gun purchasers failed to meet the filibuster-proof majority necessary to pass the Senate 54-46:

“We are deeply disappointed that a minority in the Senate chose politics over human lives affected by gun violence. More than 3,000 Americans have been killed by guns since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Today’s vote shows that some senators see no problem with letting that continue.

“The American people are demanding that Washington act to reduce gun violence. More than 90 percent of Americans support universal background checks for people buying guns. The Manchin-Toomey amendment would expand background checks to firearms purchased at most retail stores and ensure that those unfit to handle guns would be unable to purchase one.  This is only controversial in the imaginations of a few lawmakers.

“The Manchin-Toomey amendment was just one of the Senate’s many missed opportunities to reduce gun violence in America.  An overwhelming majority of Americans—including 60% of gun owners—want Congress to renew the federal ban on assault weapons and 72% of Americans demand a ban of high-capacity ammunition magazines.  The sole purpose of these devices is to cause the greatest amount of carnage as quickly as possible. “ 

“There are moments in American politics that give us great hope for the future, and there are moments when a vocal, angry minority bows to special interests in the face of overwhelming public demand. 

“The events in Sandy Hook, Aurora, Minneapolis, Tucson and the countless other sites now dedicated to the memory of those killed by gun violence will speak louder than the actions of those who voted against today’s gun safety bill. We will continue to push for reforms that save future victims and make our communities safer.” 


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