Jun 24 2016
In the nearly two weeks since the horrific attack in Orlando, Florida that claimed the lives of 49 innocent men and women, we have seen countless Americans come together and rally around our LGBT and Hispanic communities and the people of Orlando. Our hearts continue to break for the families and friends who lost loved ones in this tragedy and for those innocents who were senselessly targeted.
After this shooting, the deadliest in our country’s history, it is more clear than ever that we have an epidemic of gun violence plaguing our country and our communities. We hear about these tragedies all too often: 12 people out to see a movie in Aurora; 20 children in their first grade classroom in Newtown; nine people at weekly bible study in Charleston; 14 colleagues at work in San Bernardino; and 49 people enjoying a Saturday night out with friends in Orlando.
As we continue to gather the facts and dig down on what led to this latest attack, those of us in Congress have a responsibility to find out what we can do to prevent similar attacks from taking place in the future. The challenge before us, both Democrats and Republicans, is to find a way to enact common sense gun safety reforms at a time when the American people want and deserve action. And I believe we can meet the common sense threshold while upholding the Second Amendment and protecting the Constitutional right of law-abiding citizens to buy and own firearms.
For example, just about everyone I’ve spoken with in Delaware—including the overwhelming majority of gun owners—believes that keeping weapons out of the hands of criminals is the right thing to do, and strengthening background checks is a common sense way to do it. The Orlando attack brought to light a particularly dangerous loophole in the background check system: suspected terrorists on the No Fly List are not currently prohibited from purchasing guns and explosives. We need to close this dangerous loophole—it’s just common sense.
That is why I was deeply disappointed when, earlier this week, the Senate failed to adopt bipartisan measures that would have taken great steps forward in doing just that. But we can’t let one failed effort keep us from doing the right thing. I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in an effort to bring more common sense to our gun laws.
While we continue to mourn those lost and pray for their families and friends, we cannot stop there. We have an obligation to act and do all we can to prevent the next attack. We must also remember that failing to act is a choice in and of itself. I, for one, will not stop fighting to keep dangerous weapons from reaching our communities or making their way into the hands of terrorists and criminals.