Connecticut officials are reacting with shock and anger after the U.S. Senate rejected gun control legislation inspired by the school massacre in the state, including tightened background checks.
"Yesterday was a shameful day," Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty said on te floor of the U.S. Senate on Thursday morning. "I'm outraged that 46 Senators prevented a compromise to reduce gun violence which 92% of the American people support. 46 Senators ignore the voices of the courageous Newtown families who have paid the ultimate price of political inaction."
Meanwhile, the families of Newtown who have urged federal lawmakers to strengthen gun laws say they will carry on their work to reduce gun violence.
State lawmakers recently passed a sweeping bipartisan package of measures including a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines and an expanded assault weapons ban.
State Republican House Leader Lawrence Cafero Jr. appeared stunned the U.S. Senate couldn't pass a background checks compromise. He says "I just don't understand how you could vote no."
Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said senators who voted against the measure "should be ashamed of themselves."
Mark Barden's son Daniel was killed on Dec. 14 in the massacre. He appeared with President Barack Obama following the vote Wednesday. He said families are returning home "disappointed but not defeated."
"I join the message of the Sandy Hook Promise and Mark Barden who lost his son Daniel in the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary. Our hearts are broken, our spirit is not.," Esty said.
“As Mark Barden, one of the Newtown parents who has made gun safety and school security his mission, said after today’s vote: ‘Our hearts are broken. Our spirits are not.’ These parents and family members have been courageous and strong throughout this effort. Today is certainly a disappointment for them and me, but the push for common sense background checks does not end today. As history has shown time and time again, great causes like civil rights—causes worth fighting for—have taken time to pass and overcome the cynical abuse of Senate rules. The example of leadership set by the Newtown families will prevail at the end of the day,” Congressman Joe Courtney said in a statement released on Wednesday.
You can read Barden's full remarks, as prepared, on the Sandy Hook Promise Web site.
“Despite polls showing more than 90% of Americans favor closing loopholes that allow criminals to purchase deadly firearms without any background check, the Senate fell 6 votes short of the 60 needed to end the filibuster of the compromise proposed by Senators Manchin (D-WV) and Toomey (R-PA). The bipartisan proposal would have required that instant criminal background checks be performed on those buying guns off the internet or at gun shows,” the statement from Sandy Hook Promise states.