It’d be great if the U.S. Senate could act in line with what 90% of Americans want, but yesterday wasn’t the day. At least in Vermont we can be proud that both our Senators voted in favor of universal background checks and the “No Fly, No Buy” bill. Below is a powerful press release about Senator Leahy’s leadership on this issue, as well as a C-Span clip of his remarks yesterday in the Senate chamber. He has heard our voices clearly.
However, the takeaway from yesterday is not that progress is impossible. Instead, it means that the need for action at the state level is even more important. This is the time for us to rally behind our local candidates for state rep who support universal background checks and push back against those who don’t. You can donate your time or donate money to the cause, but choose one and show your commitment to making real progress on this issue.
To donate your time and be part of a volunteer team in support of candidates (with letter writing, helping with mailings, visibility events, or phone calling), click HERE.
To donate money to the GunSenseVT Victory Fund PAC to help support these candidates financially, click HERE.
Together, we will show the senators blocking basic gun reform that their inaction only drives us to take more action. They do NOT have the final say about gun laws in this country.
Here is the C-SPAN clip from yesterday in the Senate (Senator Leahy’s remarks start around 23:20).
And here is the press release about Senator Leahy:
One Week After Mass Shooting In Orlando, Leahy Urges Senators To Support Common Sense Legislation To Make Our Communities Safer
. . . On The Senate Floor, Leahy Responds To Vermont Teen’s Heartfelt Letter After The Orlando Massacre
WASHINGTON (Monday, June 20, 2016) – A Vermont teen recently penned an open letter urging Senator Leahy and all Senators to “do something. Something big,” in response to the mass shooting in Orlando that took 49 innocent lives. The letter was written by a Vermont teenager named Ella Staats, and it appeared in the Vermont Digger as part of the Young Writers Project.
On Monday, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) took to the Senate floor to respond to Ms. Staats and all Americans who are calling on Congress to reform the nation’s gun laws.
“I want you to know that I have been working for years to find practical solutions that will stop the gun violence that continues to touch every corner of our country. But I bet that the last thing you want is a list of all the bills I have written or voted for but have not passed. You want to know how we are going to overcome the well-funded opposition to passage of laws that will reduce gun violence,” Leahy said.
Leahy, who last week joined an unscheduled floor discussion led by Senate Democrats to force a debate and votes on gun safety issues, reiterated his call for action hours before the Senate was poised to consider legislation to close loopholes in the background check system and prevent terrorists from obtaining firearms.
“I hope the votes that I cast on your behalf tonight demonstrate that I hear you and I agree that we must act to prevent the next Orlando,” he said. “Ella, thank you for doing that – for speaking out and for holding us accountable.”
In the wake of the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, Leahy convened three high profile hearings of the Judiciary Committee on the issue of preventing gun violence. The committee also reported four common sense bills under Leahy’s leadership including legislation to improve and expand the background check system, ban assault weapons, improve school safety, and combat the practice of straw purchasing and illegal trafficking in firearms.
Earlier this year, Leahy reintroduced the bipartisan Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act to make clear that the straw purchasing and trafficking of firearms are federal crimes. The legislation strengthens ineffective laws exploited by criminals including the San Bernardino shooters to obtain firearms through a straw purchaser.
“In the wake of mass gun violence, whether the victims are members of the LGBT community, African American church parishioners, first graders in an elementary school, college students, military service members or others in our community, we are called as Americans to come together in solidarity,” Leahy said. “We must come together to enact real solutions that will prevent further acts of senseless violence.
Senator Leahy’s full remarks are available online.