Six votes was all it took to stop a historic debate on gun violence in the U.S. Senate.
On Wednesday, April 17th, 2013, U.S. Senators knocked down a plan that would expand background checks on gun sales. The vote was 54 to 46.
News 8’s Angie Sharp met with three members of the group – Quad Citians for Responsible Gun Laws – to discuss their feelings on the vote.
“Definitely disappointment,” says Maria Dickmann, from Davenport. “A lot of people were hoping that we would take a step forward on this.”
“It was an act of cowardness,” adds Arthur Heyderman, from Bettendorf. “They didn’t have the courage to vote on the issue and they didn’t have the courage to let others vote on the issue.”
The bi-partisan proposal would have expanded background checks on gun sales. It was backed by President Barack Obama, but faced strong opposition from gun rights advocates who say mandatory background checks would restrict the rights of gun owners.
But Dickmann, Heyderman, and Janet Clark say what’s really standing in the way are politics and money.
“The average NRA [National Rifle Association] member supports this legislation,” says Clark. “The average gun owner supports this legislation. It’s the NRA leadership and the gun manufacturers who are buying politicians.”
“This will end when the people in Congress love their children more than they love their contributors,” says Heyderman.
It’s not the end yet. There is a broader gun package still under consideration by the U.S. Senate. It includes tougher laws on gun trafficking and straw purchases, as well as ways to improve safety in schools.
“This is a marathon, not a sprint and we signed up for the long fight and that’s what we’re going to do,” says Dickmann.
The Quad Citians for Responsible Gun Laws originally formed in the 1990s in response to local violence. They re-formed last month in light of this debate. They’ll be holding an educational forum on Sunday, April 28th, 2013 at the Unitarian Church of Davenport, 3707 Eastern Avenue, Davenport, Iowa.