Politics

Sen. Harry Reid Calls For Expanded Background Checks For People Seeking Guns

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades

In the wake of the Charleston, South Carolina, shooting that left nine churchgoers dead, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada is seeking expanded background checks for people purchasing guns.

Dylann Roof, the prime suspect in the shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, was able to legally obtain his .45-caliber Glock handgun legally, although he is facing a drug charge, Politico reported.

"The United States is the only advanced country where this type of mass violence occurs," Reid said in a speech to the Senate today. "Let's do something. We can expand, for example, background checks. ... We should support not giving guns to people who are mentally ill and felons.”

He continued: "I understand the definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result, and that's what we're doing.”

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Since 1982, there have been at least 70 mass shootings in America and three-quarters of the guns used in those massacres were obtained legally, Mother Jones reported. 

Reid’s comments echoed those made by President Barack Obama shortly after the June 17 shooting. "At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries," Obama said from the White House Briefing Room. "It doesn't happen in other places with this kind of frequency. And it is in our power to do something about it.”

Reid took the opportunity to warn his fellow lawmakers about the consequences of inaction on the issue of gun control. Without new legislation “we will be here again. Our hearts will be broken again, and we're going to have to ask ourselves how we allowed another senseless tragedy to take place while we stand by doing nothing." 

Sources: Mother Jones, The Washington Post, The Hill, Politico Image via Senate Democrats/Flickr