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Harkin: Gun Violence Tragedies Compounded by Tragedy of Senate's Inaction on Background Checks


Location: Washington, DC

Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today issued the following statement on the Senate's failure to pass a bipartisan amendment offered by Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Patrick Toomey (R-PA) that would have provided expanded background checks in gun purchases.

"After Sandy Hook, we hoped that Congress, at long last, would be able to come together to pass sensible legislation to prevent future gun massacres. Instead, a minority of Senators once again has blocked even the most common-sense gun-safety measures. Expanding background checks for gun purchasers was the very least we could do to honor the memory of those 20 children and 6 educators killed at Sandy Hook.

"Law enforcement officials have testified that improving background checks to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals would make a real difference in reducing gun violence. Senators Toomey and Manchin -- two lifelong gun-rights advocates -- negotiated a very modest measure that would have closed the loopholes that exempt sales over the Internet and at gun shows. Improving background checks is supported by 90 percent of the public. In no way does this infringe on the Second Amendment or stand in the way of any citizen to lawfully own a weapon.

"The tragedy of Sandy Hook is now compounded by the tragedy of a Senate that is not allowed to work the will of the overwhelming majority of the American people. I hope we will revisit this issue in the future, and that we will not only strengthen background checks but also limit military-style weapons and gun magazine capacity. It is the very least we can do to protect our communities and honor the memories of the 26 victims of Sandy Hook and the thousands of other Americans who die every day from gun violence."

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