(WASHINGTON) — Standing on the Senate floor behind an enlarged photo of a memorial at Sandy Hook Elementary School taken in the days after the Connecticut shooting, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made another impassioned plea to Republicans to give up their filibuster threat on gun control legislation for the sake of “these babies who barely began to live in Newtown.”
“It is impossible to prevent every senseless tragedy but we owe it to our children to at least try,” Reid said. “I hope republicans will stop trying to shut down debate, start engaging on the tough issues we were sent to Washington to tackle.”
The memory of the young lives lost at the massacre of Sandy Hook will be front and center in the gun control debate on Capitol Hill this week as Tuesday the families of the victims are on Capitol Hill to lobby for Congress to move on the legislation.
Reid has set a tentative deadline for a compromise deal to be brokered on a key piece of the legislation on background checks.
“It’s only common sense that felons who couldn’t pass a background check in a gun store shouldn’t be able to walk into a gun show and buy a deadly weapon,” Reid said.
The majority leader invoked the suicide of his own father, who shot himself in 1972, to make the case.
“Sometimes people in a fit of passion will purchase the handgun to do bad things with it. Mr. President, even as my dad did, kill themselves. Waiting a few days helps. Requiring a simple background check every time a gun is sold is common sense,” he said.
Reid said the majority of gun owners in America are good people and spoke fondly about his own $28 gun he received as a birthday president from his parents, which he still owns.
“It was a Blueprinter Bust, a 12-gauge shotgun. Boy that’s a big gun. I still have it. It is a beautiful gun. My parents sent away for the Sears catalog for that present for me,” Reid recalled, “like most Americans I also believe the right to bear arms must be balanced with the right of all little boys and girls in this country, whether they live in inner city Chicago or sleepy Newtown, Connecticut, they deserve the right to grow up.”
Reid called for Republicans to allow the gun legislation, currently on the floor of the Senate, to move forward towards a vote by dropping their filibuster threat.
Thirteen Republican senators have threatened to filibuster the gun control legislation, promising to “oppose the motion to proceed to any legislation that will serve as a vehicle for any additional gun restrictions.”
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Kevin Liptak, CNN
Ruth Brown, Idaho Press-Tribune
Shelbie Harris, Idaho State Journal