- (Photo: SouthwestPhotoBank/P.K. Weis)
The National Rifle Association spent $25 million funding candidates in the last election cycle, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords said Wednesday in an op-ed she wrote. She also questioned why a bill to extend background checks on guns was not passed.
"Senators say they fear the N.R.A. and the gun lobby. But I think that fear must be nothing compared to the fear the first graders in Sandy Hook Elementary School felt as their lives ended in a hail of bullets," Gifford Said in her New York Times op-ed.
The article was in response to the 54 to 46 vote that occurred on Wednesday, defeating a bipartisan proposal that would expand background checks on gun sales. The outcome was just six votes short of the 60 votes needed to pass a proposal that attempts to prevent criminals and those with mental illness backgrounds from obtaining weapons.
"I watch TV and read the papers like everyone else. We know what we're going to hear: vague platitudes like "tough vote" and "complicated issue." I was elected six times to represent southern Arizona, in the State Legislature and then in Congress. I know what a complicated issue is; I know what it feels like to take a tough vote. This was neither," Giffords argued in the op-ed.
For those who voted against it, what they feared most was losing funding, Giffords accused.
"These senators made their decision based on political fear and on cold calculations about the money of special interests like the National Rifle Association, which in the last election cycle spent around $25 million on contributions, lobbying and outside spending," she wrote.
The fear that these senators did not account for, was the fear faced by the victims of gun violence, said Giffords, who was "shot in the head at point-blank range in suburban Tucson two years ago." During that shooting 12 others were injured and six killed.
"I am asking every reasonable American to help me tell the truth about the cowardice these senators demonstrated," Giffords wrote encouraging others to pull their support from those lawmakers who failed to pass a proposal that has received the majority of public support.