U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) released this statement following the Senate's vote to begin debate and consideration of the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013:
"Congress has an obligation to pass sensible legislation in an effort to reduce the epidemic of gun violence in our nation and prevent tragic mass shootings. We can take logical steps to expand criminal background checks, increase school safety and strengthen laws against gun trafficking and illegal purchases, without infringing on the Second Amendment rights of law abiding citizens and restricting the traditions of sportsmen in states like New Mexico.
"This week, the Senate has taken important bipartisan steps with the goal of sending a bill to the president. There is more serious work ahead, including the debate and consideration of numerous amendments to S. 649, the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013. As we move forward in that process, I will support the Manchin-Toomey amendment on background checks and continue working on two other important components -- improving mental health services in schools and giving state and federal authorities more resources to investigate and prosecute gun crimes."