As you are aware, the Senate spent the majority of this past week debating and voting on amendments to gun legislation, S. 649, the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013. While many efforts were made to address gun violence, a majority of the restrictions presented were all predicated on one assumption that some how we think that the criminal element will single out this one law to comply with. Many of the amendments offered, such as Sen. Dianne Feinstein's assault weapon ban and another by Sens. Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey to expand the gun background check system, would have only further restricted firearms for law-abiding citizens. Even with President Obama's backing, these amendments failed to receive a majority vote in the Senate.
I find it saddening that President Obama used the emotions of grieving families and friends who lost loved ones during the Newtown tragedy in an attempt to garner support for this gun-control legislation that would not have prevented their horrible loss. We can and should reduce violent crime in our nation. This is why I cosponsored a common-sense amendment to S. 649 offered by Sens. Chuck Grassley and Ted Cruz. The amendment would improve the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, increase federal prosecutions of gun violence, criminalize straw purchasing of firearms and gun trafficking, protect veterans' Second Amendment rights, and provide enhancements to school safety and mental health programs. The amendment required 60 votes and unfortunately fell short of passage by eight votes.
We have a historic privilege to exercise our right to keep and bear arms. As my liberal friends continue this battle in the weeks to come, I will continue the fight to prevent the passage of any legislation that relinquishes Americans' Second Amendment rights.
Thank you for taking interest in my efforts to represent you in Washington.
U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe