Carper Statement on Senate’s Failure to Pass Commonsense Gun Safety Reforms

WASHINGTON U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, released the following statement today after the Senate failed to advance two commonsense measures to keep firearms out of the hands of suspected terrorists or criminals. The Murphy amendment to strengthen background checks and close the “gun show loophole” was defeated 56-44, and the Feinstein amendment to keep those suspected of terrorist activities from purchasing firearms was defeated 53-47.

“It is unconscionable that, barely one week after the deadliest mass shooting in our nation’s history, this body cannot come together to approve commonsense reforms to prevent this kind of horrific gun violence. Instead of uniting behind bipartisan measures to keep suspected terrorists from purchasing firearms and expand background checks on gun purchases, many of my colleagues have decided that the United States Senate does not have an obligation to close these loopholes. I am sad and disappointed to see these reasonable reforms fail today and would remind my colleagues that failing to act is a choice in and of itself. 

“It defies reason that someone we have deemed too dangerous to fly on an airplane would be able to purchase a military-style assault rifle that is capable of killing so many, so quickly. These weapons, designed for the battlefield, have no place in civilian life, let alone in the hands of individuals suspected of engaging in terrorist activities. These simple amendments defeated today would not have infringed on upon law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment rights, but could have dramatically helped reduce gun violence in this country and save lives.

“We hear these tragedies referred to in the news all too often: Aurora, Newtown, Charleston, San Bernardino, Orlando. These cities and towns, along with too many others, have become synonymous with the mass shootings that took place there. But by simply referring to these locations, perhaps we forget the senseless violence that occurred and the innocent human lives that were lost: 12 people out to see a movie; 20 children in their first grade classroom; nine people at weekly bible study; 14 colleagues at work; and 49 people enjoying a Saturday night out with friends. But for all the loved ones still mourning their horrible losses, these memories are still very, very real. How many more cities have to be added to that list until we finally act? These atrocities cannot be the new norm in our society. I will not stop fighting to keep dangerous weapons with the capacity to inflict unspeakable harm in our communities out of the hands of terrorists and criminals.”