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CT Politicos ‘Heartbroken’ Over Senate Vote

by Christine Stuart | Apr 17, 2013 9:02pm
(16) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Congress, Law Enforcement, Public Safety, White House

Christine Stuart file photo

U.S. Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal at a recent press conference pushing for gun control

Connecticut lawmakers in Hartford and Washington were heartbroken that the U.S. Senate couldn’t find the courage to pass a bill that expanded background checks on gun purchases Wednesday.

It’s been 13 days since the Connecticut General Assembly passed legislation that expanded background checks, banned large-capacity magazines, and added 100 more guns to the state’s assault weapon ban.

U.S. Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal were hoping Connecticut’s bipartisan leadership on the issue in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting would help convince their colleagues in Washington to take a small step toward improving the nation’s gun laws.

But the measure fell four votes short of the super majority it needed to pass. It was defeated 54-46.

In a conference call with reporters Wednesday, advocates of better gun responsibility legislation — including family members of the Sandy Hook victims and both Murphy and Blumenthal — said they will continue the fight.

“Today was one of the saddest and shocking days of my life in public service,” Blumenthal said.

He said the hardest part was having to explain to the Newtown families that a measure with support from 54 Senators and 90 percent of the American public failed.

Christine Stuart file photo

Jackie and Mark Barden, Neil Heslin, and Nicole Hockley two weeks ago at the state Capitol

But it’s not the end of the issue.

“We’re coming back,” Blumenthal said. “The issue and the cause are not going away. The ‘Connecticut Effect’ is not going away. The families of Newtown are not going away and this bill is not going away.”

He said he doesn’t know exactly what the next step would be, but he said he would continue to fight.

Mark Barden, the father of Daniel Barden, appeared Wednesday afternoon in the White House Rose Garden with President Barack Obama.

“We’ll return home now, disappointed but not defeated,” Barden said. “We return home with the determination that change will happen — maybe not today, but it will happen.”

He said the families always knew it would be a “long road,” but “we don’t have the luxury of turning our backs.”

House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero and House Speaker Brendan Sharkey, who helped craft Connecticut’s bipartisan legislation, said they were “disappointed.”

Sharkey said he was shocked that the efforts of the Newtown families were “not enough to sway certain Senators in certain parts of the country.”

“I don’t see how common sense legislation like what was being proposed — even in its most watered-down format — that there were some Senators who didn’t even have to courage to take on those basic provisions,” Sharkey said upon learning of the legislation’s defeat.

The sentiment was shared by President Obama, who called the Senate’s actions today “shameful.”

“I’ve heard some say that blocking this step would be a victory,” Obama said during a press conference. “And my question is, a victory for who? A victory for what? All that happened today was the preservation of the loophole that lets dangerous criminals buy guns without a background check.”

Obama vowed to continue to fight alongside the Newtown families and all the families whose lives were shattered by gun violence.

“I think you’re going to see absolute outrage on the streets of this country after this vote today,” Murphy concluded.

He said he wouldn’t be surprised if the Senate was back in the near future to revisit the vote.

“We’re here to stay and Newtown’s not going to be forgotten,” said Neil Heslin, who lost a son at Sandy Hook.

Heslin said his son, Jessie Lewis, lost his life to a “coward” and the group isn’t “going to lose our fight to some cowardly Congressmen.”

The National Rifle Association, which helped defeat the amendment, also issued a statement Wednesday.

“This amendment would have criminalized certain private transfers of firearms between honest citizens, requiring lifelong friends, neighbors and some family members to get federal government permission to exercise a fundamental right or face prosecution,” Chris Cox of the NRA said. “As we have noted previously, expanding background checks, at gun shows or elsewhere, will not reduce violent crime or keep our kids safe in their schools.”

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(16) Comments

posted by: sanecitizen | April 17, 2013  10:39pm

‘They deserve a vote.’

Yup, got your vote and were rejected.

posted by: cnj-david | April 18, 2013  5:31am

Our Connecticut legislators failed for the most part to come up with laws that would prevent atrocities like Newtown from occurring again; instead passing laws that impose burdens against law abiding gun owners, who are the only ones who will obey them.

The new laws here in Connecticut were rammed through via emergency certification, bypassing normal procedures, and without consideration of the impact upon responsible gun owners, distributers and manufacturers.

Governor Malloy, Senator Blumenthal and Senator Murphy have taken every opportunity to get their faces on camera, and have stood proudly on the bodies of the children murdered by Adam Lanza as they advance their political careers.

Our federal Senate realizes that the “90%” figure bandied about as supporting stricter gun control laws is simply one number picked from a myriad of surveys and not accurate as being quoted.  They also appear to realize that the “solutions” crafted in Connecticut, Maryland and New York aren’t solutions, simply ill thought out reactions to societal problems that we have to address.

We need better solutions to the anger and illness in our society, not politicians advancing their personal gun control agendas if we’re going to stop further horrors.

posted by: justsayin | April 18, 2013  6:44am

What are these two shocked about? They can not believe that elected officials pander to their base to retain their jobs? Surely they understand that.

posted by: Fisherman | April 18, 2013  7:15am

In his April 11, 2013 Op-Ed in the Hartford Courant entitled “The NRA’s Supposed Clout is a Charade”, Senator Chris Murphy stated: “As it turns out, the NRA is just one big paper tiger.”
The young Senator has a bit of learning to do.  For not only is an organization made up of more than 4 million United States Citizens NOT “one big paper tiger” as Mr. Murphy suggests; but more importantly, Mr. Murphy should acquiesce that the bill failed in the SENATE (“we’ve got the votes” said Mr. Obama…). So this bill surely would have met its demise in the HOUSE.
WHY? Because Connecticut’s response has displayed to the United States that gun control is a slippery-slope. Background checks are not the problem; until they lead to a degradation of Second Amendment Rights (all the “other stuff” in Connecticut’s recently passed law).
Regardless of what some university poll may purport, by-and -large Americans still value their Constitutional Amendments; and recognize that the loss of one of them is a loss of all of them.

posted by: BTF | April 18, 2013  7:35am

Christine, I’m disappointed in your editorializing in the very first paragraph by saying this vote was about a lack of courage. You have to remember that Connecticut is a very liberal state and simply out of touch with the vast majority of American citizens. Just look at the distribution of red vs blue counties in the last election for president - about 80% red by the looks of it.  Consider that it takes LESS courage to cast a vote and that can be demagoged as “I did it for the children” than to cast a vote that says despite the horrific events of Newtown, I’m not going to vote for a bill that weakens constitutional rights when it would have had little or no effect in Newtown.  I’m for laws (including enforcement of existing laws) that would result in zero deaths in Newtown rather than 20. Specifically - armed resource officers in schools. Just think of how the political debate and the fate of those children and families would have been different.

posted by: GuilfordResident | April 18, 2013  7:38am

Thank goodness enough senators realize this is a march toward gun-abolition and an assault on the Second Amendment to block passage. 

As a law-abiding citizen, further laws unduly burden my right to bear arms.

Please stop this assault on my Second Amendment rights.

posted by: JH_1 | April 18, 2013  8:00am

I think this piece of legislation should have passed.  It really is common sense, especially because it specifically stated that a registry cannot be created with these background checks.

in my opinion, banning certain firearms from honest, law abiding citizens is infringing on thier rights, keeping any firearms from those that shouldn’t have them isn’t.

posted by: Nutmeg87 | April 18, 2013  8:43am

Why is everyone so shocked…

The reality is that Connecticut is a VERY LIBERAL bastion of traditional Northeast left-of-center sociology… 


Couldn’t even get a Democratic Majority in Senate to pass ANYTHING…
This is America.

And Obama is Soooooo Angry at Democrats & GOP Senators about “politics”...  So WHY DIDNT HE TACKLE THIS IN HIS FIRST TERM WHEN HE HAD MAJORITY IN BOTH HOUSE & SENATE…  Maybe because of HIS electoral prospects… 

Thus Obama knew from his pollsters which side America is on in Gun Rights…

posted by: lebron | April 18, 2013  2:09pm

Obama was right on one count
It was a shameful three months in Washington and in Connecticut,
Obama has no credibility
Biden has no credibility
Feinstein has no credibility
Reid has no credibility
Murphy has no credibility
Blumenthal has no credibility.
And unfortunately the Newtown Families that were all but willing pawns to be exploited by Obama’s Gun Control dream have no more credibility. I am truly sorry and heartbroken, but when you stand on a podium and tell the Citizens of this Country that they MUST accept the loss of a God given right because you have been lead to believe it will make us “safer” and will not consider any alternatives. You lack credibility. Biden was even seen wiping a crocidile tear away…ENOUGH…
You had the vote you wanted, and lost.
Game Over…

posted by: Joebigjoe | April 18, 2013  10:29pm

The more the media misled people, the more people on the fence noticed what was taking place, and they made sure that their voices were heard with their representatives. This became a left wing anti gun feeding frenzy and the media actually hurt the cause. Thank you media.

posted by: AntonK | April 19, 2013  9:19am

I wonder how all those wringing their hands over the failure of the gun bills would feel…if the nation’s abortion policies were based on the Kermit Gosnell atrocities?

posted by: ALD | April 19, 2013  9:19am

Had Adam Lanza chosen to use the same method to carry out his actions last Dec. as the bombers in Boston did this past Monday, would we even be discussing gun legislation today?

Sooner or latter this has to sink in.  The solutions to this sort of sick problem will only be found in first understanding, and then dealing with, why people even consider doing things like Newtown, Oklahoma City, Boston, and so many other places in the first place. Not in creating new useless feel good laws that only impact the 99.99% of law abiding citizens, and not the criminals who one way or another will still find a way to carry out their despicably sick acts.

As Joe above here points out, the Democrats in Congress, and our President turned this into a left wing, anti gun, anti NRA feeding frenzy, and lost sight of the real problem. The result as usual, Congress fails to accomplish anything.

Here in CT we need to demand that our two Senators start showing the courage to think a lot deeper, and a lot broader than they so far seem interested in doing.  If as time goes on they continue to be part of the impasse in Washington, we voters should reassess the trust we have placed in them to be part of any real solution.

Unfortunately at this point It appears the only deeper thinking Murphy is being exposed to in the Senate is how to find and then pander to any TV camera in the area. Something his fellow CT US Senator wrote the book on.

We in CT, as well as the rest of the country, deserve better from all those we send to Washington. It is way past time for Congress stop letting party politics get in the way of Congress doing it’s job.

Sorry if I sound fed up with all this, but the fact is I am. If ever there has been a time for a change this is it!!

posted by: ToTo | April 19, 2013  10:34pm

”notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the Attorney General may implement this subsection with regulations.” The courts may construe the “notwithstanding” to allow Attorney General Eric Holder to issue regulations that could begin to create a federal registry of firearms, because the law says he can implement the subsection without regard to the protections against a registry elsewhere in the legislation.

posted by: Reasonable | April 20, 2013  2:02pm

This is a smokescreen to hide our real problems. Guns and gun control is only polled as a major issue by only 4 percent of people polled by the Fallup Poll recently.  The commanding 96% of Americans polled said the our economy, jobs and our massive national debt—are the issues that they are really concerned about, per Gallup, and our president and congress are covering up their failure to address our fiscal disaster—by playing gmes with only guns and gun control—to distract the public from their failure to cope with our looming fiscal meltdown that could make the Great Recession look like “a walk in the park.”

posted by: Nutmeg87 | April 21, 2013  9:17pm

Hey ToTo….

Maybe Holder should just try to get back the +800 assault guns that HE still LOST in his Sting-Gone-Bad “Fast & Furious operation”...

He Fast & Furiously Lost 1,200+ weapons accross the Mexican border & 1 was used to kill a Border Cop… ATF recovered about half….

Maybe we should BAN Holder…

Instead of wasting his time with a registry od law abiding US Citizens ...  GET THE GUNS BACK THAT YOU LOST !!!!!!!!!!!

posted by: pajo | April 23, 2013  3:35pm

There is a completely false argument that many gun supporters adhere to in CT and around the country that the US government is “tyrannical”...these people are so clueless and ignorant about real tyrannical governments throughout history!...for example, if they had ever lived in Hitler’s Nazi Germany, Stalin’s Soviet Union, or Communist Red China, I don’t believe they would ever be calling the US government “tyrannical”...

Unbelievable!...a perfect example of misdirected and dangerous propaganda from the NRA that thrives in people who are either too ignorant, lazy, paranoid or angry to use any commonsense or reasoning…

How can anybody convince themselves that their right to buy any weapon they want is more important than the right of a young child (or any human being) to live…

I have been a gun owner since I was 13 years old…I will never support the NRA or anybody who insists that they should be able to buy these weapons of mass murder and/or high-capacity magazines!