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Senator Told Shooting Victim’s Mother He Supported Background Checks, Then Voted Against Them

By Ian Millhiser  

"Senator Told Shooting Victim’s Mother He Supported Background Checks, Then Voted Against Them"

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Shortly before the a crucial Senate vote to expand background checks in gun transactions, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) sent a letter to the mother of a shooting victim claiming that he was “truly sorry” for her son’s death and that “strengthening background checks is something we agree on.” A few days later, he voted to kill the background checks bill.

Caren Teves’ son Alex died during the Aurora theater mass shooting while shielding his girlfriend from the gun man’s bullets. She wrote a letter to Sen. Flake, in which she “invited him to our home to sit in our son’s chair, his empty chair” and “feel the emptiness and have dinner with us and discuss” guns. In response, Flake sent Teves a hand-written letter claiming that he supported one of the most important steps Congress could take to improve gun safety — expanding background checks:

Just days after raising Teves’ hopes that the Senate would act to prevent future mothers from experiencing the same pain inflicted upon her family, Flake voted against background checks. Flake claimed to oppose the bill because it “would expand background checks far beyond commercial sales to include almost all private transfers — including between friends and neighbors,” but this claim is false. As Mark Kelly, husband of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) lamented after seeing Flake’s explanation, “it appears he hasn’t read the bill.”

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