Our country was once again let down by its senators Monday. A series of gun control measures were brought before the Senate and failed to gain the bipartisan support needed to reform gun laws in the U.S.
Many senators — like Sen. Chris Murphy, a democrat who had sponsored a previous failed measure calling for stricter background checks — were in no way surprised by the failed outcome.
“I’m mortified by today’s vote, but I’m not surprised by it,” Murphy told CNN on Monday. “The (National Rifle Association) has a vice-like grip on this place.”
Let’s ignore for a moment the disturbingly large influence the NRA has on our politics and instead focus on the will of the American people.
According to a recent CNN/ORC survey support for stricter gun laws rose to 55 percent, a 9 percent increase after the Orlando terror attack.
In addition, 92 percent are in favor of expanded background checks, 87 percent support a ban for felons or those with mental health issues, and 85 percent wanting those on federal watch lists to be banned from purchasing firearms.
For those who naively believe the majority of support is from registered democrats, 90 percent of Republicans support the watch list ban, whereas only 85 percent of Democrats did.
Despite citizens demanding change, our senators made sure no measures to help protect innocent lives were passed.
A proposal to update the background check system, which also would alert law enforcement if someone on a terrorist watchlist purchases a gun?
A proposal to delay the sale of firearms to those on terror watch lists?
Also shot down was a proposal to completely bar gun sales to anyone on the terrorist watch list.
The proposals were flawed. They didn’t address those with mental illness or even attempt to put restrictions on the purchase of assault rifles. But they would have made a fantastic first step in meaningful gun regulations.
Yes, we as Americans have the right to bear arms protected in the Second Amendment. Unfortunately, the NRA and its loyal following fail to accept the fact that the government is not trying to take away citizens’ guns.
These reformations would not have restricted your ability to buy a hunting rifle or purchase a Glock. They would have simply made it more difficult for those with terrorist affiliations and those who slip through the current background check loopholes to go home with a weapon that can wipe out 50 people in a blink of an eye.
Part of the blame, of course, lies in the gun laws each state enacts. In Florida, you don’t even need a license to carry home an AR-15. You just have to pass a very basic background check.
There is obviously a problem with our current gun laws. We are now 173 days into 2016 and have had 143 mass shootings — some as close to USF’s campus at Bearss Ave. and Nebraska Ave. This disturbing reality cannot be accepted as the norm.
Regardless of personal beliefs, if the American public has united behind a movement, it is up to our government to protect the will of the people. Unfortunately, Monday proved that is not the case.
The question on everyone’s mind now is how many more people must die before our government decides we are worth protecting?