President Obama tore into Congress for voting down a background check amendment that the overwhelming majority of Americans support. Speaking at the White House Rose Garden as the Newtown families and former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords looked on, Obama stressed that he would continue to advocate for the measure, which fell four votes short of the 60-vote threshold:
1. “I’m going to speak plainly and honestly about what’s happened here because the American people are trying to figure out how can something have 90 percent support and yet not happen.”
2. “This legislation, in fact, outlawed any registry. Plain and simple, right there in the text. But that didn’t matter. And unfortunately, this pattern of spreading untruths about this legislation served a purpose, because those lies upset an intense minority of gun owners, and that in turn intimidated a lot of senators.”
3. “But the fact is most of these senators could not offer any good reason why we wouldn’t want to make it harder for criminals and those with severe mental illnesses to buy a gun… It came down to politics — the worry that that vocal minority of gun owners would come after them in future elections.”
4. “I’ve heard some say that blocking this step would be a victory. And my question is, a victory for who? A victory for what? … It begs the question, who are we here to represent?”
5. “I’ve heard folks say that having the families of victims lobby for this legislation was somehow misplaced. ‘A prop,’ somebody called them. ‘Emotional blackmail,’ some outlet said. Are they serious? Do we really think that thousands of families whose lives have been shattered by gun violence don’t have a right to weigh in on this issue? Do we think their emotions, their loss is not relevant to this debate?
6. “So all in all, this was a pretty shameful day for Washington.”
7. “You need to let your representatives in Congress know that you are disappointed, and that if they don’t act this time, you will remember come election time.”