Right from the title — "A Senate in the Gun Lobby's Grip" — Gabby Giffords's New York Times op-ed is direct about who is preventing even the smallest new gun regulations from moving forward. Yesterday, a minority of the Senate blocked a bipartisan bill expanding background checks by threatening a filibuster, and Giffords laid the blame at the feet of the gun lobby and the weak lawmakers intimidated by it. She wrote with emotion in the op-ed you've probably spotted on Twitter or in your Facebook newsfeed:
Senators say they fear the N.R.A. and the gun lobby. But I think that fear must be nothing compared to the fear the first graders in Sandy Hook Elementary School felt as their lives ended in a hail of bullets. The fear that those children who survived the massacre must feel every time they remember their teachers stacking them into closets and bathrooms, whispering that they loved them, so that love would be the last thing the students heard if the gunman found them.
"Shame on them," Giffords said about the senators who expressed sympathy as they looked her in the eyes as she talked about being shot in the head at point-blank range and then voted against background checks that 90 percent of Americans support. She continued:
I know what a complicated issue is; I know what it feels like to take a tough vote. This was neither. These senators made their decision based on political fear and on cold calculations about the money of special interests like the National Rifle Association, which in the last election cycle spent around $25 million on contributions, lobbying and outside spending.
Giffords, who said that she was "furious," joined President Obama in utter frustration and anger. The president, who pointed out that many Americans already think there are these types of background checks for convicted felons and the mentally ill, blamed the gun lobby for intimidating senators: "Instead of supporting this compromise, the gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill. They claimed that it would create some sort of 'big brother' gun registry, even though the bill did the opposite. This legislation, in fact, outlawed any registry."
Do you think the emotional response from Giffords and Obama will lead to more gun control?