An angry President Obama spoke Wednesday after the Senate voted down a gun bill that would have expanded background checks.
The bi-partisan legislation, which had a 90 percent support rating from the public according to CNN, was met with fierce backlash from gun rights groups such as the National Rifle Association that, per Obama, “bullied” Senators into voting it down.
The bill fell just short of the necessary 60 votes it needed, ending up 54-46.
“The gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill,” Mr. Obama said from the White House Rose Garden, raising his voice at times to make a point. “Unfortunately this pattern of spreading untruths about this legislation served a purpose because those lies upset an intense minority of gun owners and that in turn intimidated a lot of senators.”
The bill, in any logical, reasonable sense, was an effort to insure a greater degree of safety for the public. The pro-gun groups, however, spent astronomical amounts of money (as well as threats, no doubt, to suspend funding for Senators secretly in favor of the bill) to ensure that democracy — the voice of the people — was shot down in the name of special interests.
While speaking, Obama was flanked by relatives of Newtown victims as well as Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who is a gun owner, supporter of the bill, and survivor of a shooting attack.
Giffords said that the Senate “ignored the will of the American people," adding that all those senators who voted ‘nay’ chose to "obey the leaders of the powerful corporate gun lobby, instead of their constituents."
The bill, introduced by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), was a watered down version of Obama’s original proposal and would have expanded background checks to include private sales at guns shows and over the internet while exempting sales between family members.
Obama also blasted Sen. Rand Raul (R-Ky.), a 2016 presidential hopeful, after Paul accused the president of using families of shooting victims as ‘props.’
“I’ve heard folks say that having the families of victims lobby for this legislation was somehow misplaced. A prop, somebody called them,” Mr. Obama said in response. “Are they serious? Do we really think that thousands of families whose lives have been shattered by gun violence don’t have a right to weigh in on this issue?”
“All in all, this was a pretty shameful day for Washington,” Obama said.