So the Senate has decided that no federal response is needed to the massacre in Newtown — none at all. No wonder President Barack Obama, standing with former Rep. Gabby Giffords and families of the Newtown victims in the Rose Garden, was visibly angry as he called Wednesday a “shameful day for Washington” and called out the gun lobby for lying about gun safety legislation.

The National Rifle Association says the background check requirement is the first step toward a national gun registry. That’s a great fetcher line for the NRA’s perpetual fundraising appeal, but it’s a bogeyman.

To counter the fearmongering, the bill’s authors — a red state Democrat and a blue state Republican, both with A ratings from the NRA — included a provision that prohibits establishing a gun registry and contains criminal penalties for anyone who uses the data for that purpose.

Yet there was Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., harping about the “unnecessary burdens” the measure would place on gun owners and the “potential overreach by the federal government into private gun sales.”

Others hid behind a GOP “alternative” that called for better enforcement of the existing system without expanding checks to purchases made outside that system, as if that wouldn’t make things worse.

This isn’t a question of whether GOP lawmakers are tone deaf. It’s a question of whether they’re listening to the public or the gun lobby. And it’s a question of whether voters will hold them accountable, once the smoke clears and it turns out that Congress has done, essentially, nothing.


The Senate gallery was filled with victims, family members and friends involved in recent gun massacres, including in Newtown, Tucson and Virginia Tech.

One was Lori Haas, whose daughter was shot at Virginia Tech. Another was Patricia Maisch, who helped end Jared Loughner’s shooting rampage in January 2011 that gravely wounded Giffords.

Haas and Maisch were among those who shouted “Shame on you!” after the background check measure failed and then were ushered out of the chamber.

Maisch and other advocates have worked tirelessly to ensure the victims of gun violence are not forgotten. They are not the ones who should be forced from the halls of Congress.

Editorial by the San Jose Mercury News and the Chicago Tribune

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