Senate Committee Passes Background Checks, Republicans Turn Their Backs on 91 Percent Of Americans

Who Favor The Plan. If This Interactive Map of Americans Who Have Been Killed by Guns in America Just Since Newtown Is Not Enough to Convince Members of Congress to Act, Then Why Are They In Public Service At All?

March 12, 2013  
Contacts: Lauren Weiner, 202-470-5870
                  Jeremy Funk, 202-470-5878

A project of Slate and @GunDeaths

Washington, DC - Today the Senate Judiciary Committee passed legislation along party lines which would go a long way to ensuring dangerous people will not be able to get their hands on deadly weapons, an important part of President Obama’s common sense gun violence prevention proposals that continue to protect Second Amendment rights.

With this “no” vote, Sen. Jeff Flake ignored his constituents who just last week gathered in Tucson to urge him to support background checks for all gun sales. Sen. Chuck Grassley said “no” faith leaders, parents and local elected officials who implored him to allow background checks for gun purchases. Every Senate Republican on the Committee voted no as deaths from guns violence in America continues at an unacceptable pace – including 8 kids and teens each and every day. 

Evidence demonstrates that background checks save lives.  For example, in the fourteen states that already require background checks for all gun sales: 

Tom McMahon, Executive Director, Americans United for Change: “We witnessed something truly remarkable today. The Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill for universal background checks without any Republican votes.  Objecting to making it more difficult for criminals, domestic abusers and dangerous individuals to obtain guns is an affront to millions of Americans who deserve and want the freedom to be safe and secure in our communities. Let’s be clear: 91% of Americans support background checks – including 91% of independents, and 87% of Republicans.  So who are these Republicans listening to?  It’s not the NRA’s membership who support background checks by an overwhelming majority. They’re not listening to the families of gun violence victims in their states imploring them to keep weapons out of dangerous hands so fewer families have to endure what they’ve gone through. The only people they seem to have these Republicans’ full and undivided attention are the big gun manufacturers that oppose any and all sensible gun violence prevention measures because they think it’ll hurt their bottom line. After this reprehensible vote to put big gun maker money before kids’ safety, these Republicans should each be asking themselves, ‘Why am I in public service at all?”


[1] Daniel Webster, Jon Vernick, & Maria Bulzacchelli, “Effects of State-Level Firearm Seller Accountability Policies on Firearm Trafficking,” Journal of Urban Health, July 2009.

[2] U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Supplementary Homicide Reports, 2011.

[3] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [online]. (2005) [cited 2012 Dec. 20].