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What others say: A shameful day

The Kansas City Star

Published: Friday, April 19 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

FILE- In this Jan. 30, 2013, file photo Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., talks about gun legislation during the committee's hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Congress returns from a two-week spring recess Monday, April 8, 2013, with gun control and immigration high on the Senate's agenda. Senators could start debating Democratic-written gun legislation before week's end, but leaders may decide to give negotiators more time to seek a deal on expanding background checks for firearms buyers.

Susan Walsh, File, Associated Press

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The following editorial appeared recently in the Kansas City Star:

The U.S. Senate's handling of a gun safety package was cowardly and contemptible.

With a series of procedural votes, most Republican senators and a handful of Democrats opted Wednesday afternoon to not even debate modest gun safety measures. They included a bipartisan bill to close the loophole that allows people to purchase weapons at gun shows without a background check. Proposals to limit the size of gun magazines and to ban some of the most deadly assault weapons were also struck down without debate.

"All in all, this was a pretty shameful day in Washington," President Barack Obama said in a news conference.

A very shameful day. What kind of a governing body responds to a national crisis by refusing to even discuss it openly and publicly?

On the background check measure, 54 senators voted to advance the bill, 46 voted against.

"The gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill," said Obama, standing beside former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and in the presence of families of gun victims.

That is true. The background check bill was not an infringement on anyone's Second Amendment rights. It was a compromise attempt to do something to keep deadly weapons out of the hands of dangerous people.

"This effort is not over," Obama said.

It is not. The first step must be reminding obstructionist senators at every chance that almost nine of 10 Americans support universal background checks. Hold these politicians accountable for failing that majority, including families who have already paid the highest price for America's gun problem.

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