WASHINGTON --- Supporters of common sense restrictions on guns, from both political parties, won a number of U.S. Senate seats yesterday.
Senator-Elect Mark Kirk in Illinois is a co-sponsor in the U.S. House of Representatives of legislation to close the gun show loophole. Senator-Elect Dan Coats in Indiana was opposed by the National Rifle Association because of his votes for the Brady Bill and the Assault Weapons Ban in the early 1990s, during his previous service in the Senate. Both of these wins were pickups by Republicans of Democratic seats.
On the Democratic side, gun control supporters - Senators Barbara Boxer in California; Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand in New York; Ron Wyden in Oregon, Barbara Mikulski in Maryland and Daniel Inouye in Hawaii won. Richard Blumenthal in Connecticut, Michael Bennet in Colorado and Chris Coons in Delaware were elected to the Senate as well.
“This shows again that support for common sense gun laws will not hurt candidates at the polls, regardless of political party,” said Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and a former Indiana Republican Senate nominee. “A number of candidates running for the Senate who sided with us on the gun issue won.”
Senator Schumer, who sailed to re-election, has been one of the gun violence prevention’s greatest champions throughout his political career. Senator Boxer, a longtime supporter of tougher gun laws, campaigned against Carly Fiorina for her opposition to restricting assault weapons and for opposing restrictions on suspected terrorists buying guns, and won by a comfortable margin. Senator Wyden has long supported common-sense gun measures, as have Senators Inouye and Mikulski.
Senator Gillibrand, who became a supporter of, and a leader on, gun control measures after learning more about gun violence from mayors and police chiefs across New York following her move from the U.S. House to the Senate, and was targeted by the gun lobby as a result, thrashed her Republican opponent. And Bennet, appointed by Colorado’s Governor to finish the term of former Senator Ken Salazar, co-sponsored gun show loophole legislation and defeated gun rights extremist Ken Buck.
Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut was a strong supporter of sensible gun laws as the state’s Attorney General. Chris Coons, a virtual unknown in politics a year ago, overwhelmingly defeated NRA-endorsed Christine O’Donnell.
Helmke, a Republican who served as Mayor of Fort Wayne, Indiana for three terms, was not surprised by the results - he’s long dismissed the myth about the gun issue being dangerous for politicians.
“As a candidate in six primary elections and four general elections in Indiana, I learned that most voters support candidates who stand up for common-sense gun laws,” Helmke said. “Gun owners and even NRA members are willing to vote for candidates who will talk clearly about public safety measures consistent with the reasonable restrictions that the U.S. Supreme Court has made it clear apply to the Second Amendment.”
As the nation's largest, non-partisan, grassroots organization leading the fight to prevent gun violence, the Brady Campaign, with its dedicated network of Million Mom March Chapters, works to enact and enforce sensible gun laws, regulations and public policies. The Brady Campaign is devoted to creating an America free from gun violence, where all Americans are safe at home, at school, at work, and in our communities.