Four Years After The Emanuel AME Church Shooting, Universal Background Check Legislation Languishes in Leader McConnell’s Legislative Graveyard
On the evening of June 17, 2015, a white supremacist walked into Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC and opened fire. Nine churchgoers were killed in one of the worst hate crimes in recent American history.
Today marks four years since this tragedy befell one of the oldest African American congregations in the South. Four years since nine Americans, in the middle of Bible study, were senselessly murdered because of the color of their skin.
We are the only nation in the developed world where these kind of shootings happen with regularity, and they will never end if Republicans in Congress continue to pretend as if we are powerless to do something about it. That is why Democrats have tried to address one area of gun safety that is a no-brainer: requiring a background check for every firearm sale and closing dangerous loopholes in our existing background check system.
90% of Americans favor strengthening the background check system. That includes the majority of Republican voters and the majority of gun owners. But despite the overwhelming nationwide support, Congress is paralyzed because Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans have turned the Senate into a legislative graveyard, refusing to even take a look at critical federal background check legislation that has already been approved by the House of Representatives with bipartisan support.
Why has Leader McConnell added this bipartisan legislation to his legislative graveyard? Has the power of Washington’s gun lobby become so complete that even common-sense reforms with 90% support have no hope of movement?
It is time for that to change. Leader McConnell should call a vote on universal background checks and closing the “Charleston loophole” now. Nobody pretends that these proposals will stop every shooting, but if they could prevent even one more from happening, they deserve our consideration. Let’s not delay any longer.
There is no better way to remember the Emmanuel Nine who we lost four years ago today: The Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Cynthia Hurd, The Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Tywanza Sanders, Ethel Lance, Susie Jackson, Depayne Middleton Doctor, The Rev. Daniel Simmons, Myra Thompson, than with impactful, commonsense gun safety reforms.
Senate Democrats are calling on Leader McConnell to listen to our constituents who sent us here to debate and vote on the most important issues of the day, and bring up these critical pieces of legislation.