Tucson shooting survivor Patricia Maisch screamed “shame on you” from the balcony of the Senate immediately after lawmakers rejected a bill to expand background checks.
Outside of the chamber, she told reporters, “They need to be ashamed of themselves. I think the ones who voted no…they have no soul. They have no compassion for the experiences that people have lived through, gun violence, who have had a child or loved one murdered.”
Despite emotional pleas from shooting survivors, victims’ family members, and 90% of Americans, the Senate rejected the bi-partisan bill in a 54-46 vote—six votes shy of the 60 votes needed to pass.
The failure of the amendment, co-sponsored by Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania who both have “A” ratings through the National Rifle Association, dealt a major setback to President Obama’s push for sweeping control legislation in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn.
In response to the vote, President Obama called it a “shameful day in Washington.” The president spoke in the Rose Garden at the White House alongside side families of Newtown victims, former Congressman Gabby Giffords who survived a bullet to the head, and Vice President Biden.
“There were no coherent arguments as to why we wouldn’t do this. It came down to politics,” said Obama, scolding lawmakers for not acting upon new legislation. A determined Obama added, “I see this as just round one.”
Before the crucial vote in the Senate, the NRA warned members the proposal would lead to a Big-Brother-esque gun registry – a fact both Obama and Manchin publicly slammed as a complete “lie.”
“The gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill,” said Obama. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid also accused the powerful gun lobby of “shameful scare tactics.”
Newtown dad Mark Barden, who lost his son Daniel, vowed to fight on. He said at the press conference, “We return home disappointed, but not defeated.”