The first vote on gun safety legislation passed the Senate Thursday. Just before, Pia Carusone, Executive Director of American for Responsible Solutions, the group founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly, appeared on Jansing & Co.
“We feel pretty good. If you look back at what was said and written last week. Many folks were writing the obituary of the background check movement so we’re happy Senator Manchin and Senator Toomey have worked very hard to come to the place that they’re at and there’s still a lot of work to do ahead but we feel very good,” Carusone said.
There is now bipartisan support for background checks coming from NRA “A” rated Senators Pat Toomey (R-Penn.) and Joe Manchin (D-WVa.). Thursday’s first procedural vote is just the beginning. It’s going to be a very tough fight in the coming days. Several Republicans are still adamantly against any new guns laws. Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and Rand Paul may not filibuster; instead, they might object to every single procedural move made by Democrats, drawing debate out for days or even weeks. Senator Mitch McConnell voted no on the first procedural measure.
“I believe the government should focus on keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals and those with mental issues that could cause them to be a threat to society. The government should not punish or harass law-abiding citizens in the exercise of their Second Amendment rights,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Thursday.
The Manchin-Toomey proposal will be offered as an amendment. It has the support of the Newtown families, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and now Americans for Responsible Solutions.
“It’s an expanded background check proposal. It would close the gun show loop hole and require background checks for internet sales. That’s a reasonable solution that over 90% of Americans support and we’re very happy to see it move forward. Again, there’s a bunch of amendments coming up and we’ll have for sure the sausage making in Washington but we’re happy about it,” Carusone said on Jansing & Co.
The Newtown families released this statement: “Senators who have vowed to filibuster this bill should be ashamed of their attempt to silence efforts to prevent the next American tragedy. Their staunch opposition to sensible gun reform is an affront to the 26 innocent children and educators who were murdered in Newtown. No one should have to experience the pain we have endured - commonsense gun laws will help spare others from the grief we live with every day.”
Carusone says her organization is determined to change the culture in Washington and fight the NRA and this is only the beginning.
“The NRA has had all of the money and all of the influence for as long as we can remember. And that’s gonna change, it has changed. With the existence of Americans for Responsible Solutions and with the other groups that are in this conversation, those days are over. We are here to change the makeup of Congress and to change the minds of those who are currently elected because there should be a discussion about something like a ban on the size of magazines, that’s what happened in the Tuscan Shooting. That gentleman was able to fire over 30 rounds in 15 seconds, no one thinks that’s right. We’d like to see a more robust conversation on that. Sure, a couple months ago and that was kind of taken off the table, in Washington talk. We were disappointed, but we’re optimistic about where we are today, we have a long struggle ahead, but the American public is behind us.”