Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says Congress will not abandon the fight on gun legislation, putting the Republicans – and Democrats – who voted against the bill on notice.
“The writing is on the wall,” Reid said today, taking the rare move of calling out the four Democrats in his party, along with the Republicans, who opposed the background check proposal. “I’m here to tell you: We’re not going to give up the fight.”
On the eve of the sixth-month anniversary of the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., the family members of the slain victims read a roll call of the names today in the Capitol. Some in the crowd wept when the age of the slain students – 6 – was read over and over.
“Sometimes people have very short memories,” Reid, D-Nev., said, sounding an apologetic note to the families about the lack of progress in Congress on the gun debate. “We can never take those names out of our hearts and minds.”
Gilles Rousseau, whose daughter Lauren was a first-grade teacher at Sandy Hook, traveled to Washington to press lawmakers for action. He has spent time in the past six months visiting the town meetings of Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, who voted against the bill, and lobbying state legislatures like the one in Nevada, where gun bills passed both chambers.
But he is upset at the inaction in Congress.
“It’s so disappointing,” Rousseau told ABC News. “How can they forget these 20 first-graders? It should be a no-brainer. It is common sense.”
The Rousseau and Soto families are meeting with President Obama and Vice President Biden at the White House this afternoon.
Even though Senate leaders have pledged to hold another vote, the path forward remains a difficult one. Even if five more votes could be found in the Senate, the Republican-controlled House has shown little intention of taking up any gun measures.
“Congress cannot continue to allow these guns to be in the hands of madmen,” said Jillian Soto, whose sister Victoria was killed in Newtown. “We will continue to fight until Congress makes us safe from gun violence.”