More than 90 percent of Americans support universal background checks for people purchasing firearms.
A survey from Quinnipiac University released last week found that Americans back such background checks 91-8 percent. Voters in gun-owning households say the same, 88-11 percent. [4/9]
Nine in 10 Americans support expanding background checks on gun purchases in a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, an extraordinary level of agreement on a political issue and a finding that’s been duplicated in nearly every major public poll. [4/3]
So why are Senate Republicans threatening to filibuster legislation that the American people overwhelmingly support? If they oppose universal background checks designed to help ensure that guns don’t fall into the wrong hands (criminals, mentally ill, or otherwise prohibited from owning a gun) – they should vote accordingly. But why are they obstructing the open process and blocking a vote on the floor of the Senate? CBS News tried to find out…
CBS News called out 14 Republican senators on Tuesday for declining requests to be interviewed about their proposed filibuster of an upcoming gun control bill.
The senators—including minority leader Mitch McConnell—are part of an effort, led by Kentucky’s Rand Paul, to block any potential expansion of gun laws in the wake of the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. On Tuesday’s “CBS This Morning,” congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes reported on the lobbying being done by families of some of the Newtown victims.
She then said that none of the potential filibustering senators had agreed to an interview.
“We asked all 14 Republican senators for an interview about their filibuster threat, but none of them were available,” Cordes said. [4/9]
Even some Republicans are shocked by the GOP threat to stand in the way of a vote backed by an overwhelming majority of Americans:
Michael Steele, former RNC Chairman, on MSNBC’s Daily Rundown just this morning:
…I don’t understand the idea of positioning the party, positioning the leadership against an issue that is a 90% issue with voters out there. At least pretend that you’re interested in it. At least pretend that you give a damn about what happened and that you’re willing to make a step forward to resolve the concern that people have in the country about guns. Regardless of where you are on the NRA and all of that, that’s not the point. This is some of the craziest posturing I’ve ever seen. When the country is hemorrhaging their concern on this issue for the party is to sit back and basically say we’re not even listening to what you have to say. It’s crazy. [4/9]
Senate Republican Johnny Isakson (GA):
“I’ll speak for myself on that question,” Isakson said on CBS’s “This Morning” when asked about the filibuster. “There’s no ambivalence on the gun issue, I think everyone knows what the issues are. We have not seen the final draft of the legislation that was produced, I understand, last night, but I think it deserves a vote up or down.” [Politico, 4/9]
House Republican Chairman Peter King (NY):
“Even If I did not support that legislation, I would say let this come to a debate,” he said. “An issue that’s grabbed hold of the American people, an issue that has to be resolved. And even if it doesn’t go down the way I want it to, the American people are entitled to a debate and to me, to use senate rules to block a debate on an issue of this importance is just wrong.” [Politico, 4/9]
We need to work together to reduce the gun violence that has taken too many victims and destroyed the lives of families and communities across the country. America has a right to see where their elected officials stand on this critical issue – anything less is indefensible. But perhaps that is why the GOP is hiding.