After the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December 2012, many government officials and citizens of the United States felt that gun control laws needed to be put in place. Therefore, Senators Joe Machin (D-W.Va) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa), authored a proposal that would expand background checks to gun shows and internet sales, while excluding personal transactions. On Wednesday, Apr. 17, the proposal was defeated in the Senate, 54-46. In order for the proposal to pass, 60 votes were needed.
Although this bi-partisan measure was geared toward the agendas of Democrats, the voting outcome showed that this was not completely the case. Four Republican senators voted for the proposal, while five Democrats voted against it.
President Obama was disappointed in the outcome of the vote.
“So while this compromise didn’t contain everything I wanted, or everything that these families wanted, it did represent progress. It represented moderation and common sense. That’s why 90 percent of the American people supported it. All in all this was a pretty shameful day for Washington,” said Obama.
Students at Bethany also have mixed feelings about the proposal. A Bethany sophomore who did not want to be identified said, “I think the gun control bill is very important for Americans to know about. The argument about the Second Amendment is not nearly as up for debate as the media wants us to believe. The Second Amendment protects our right to own firearms, and restricting that right is unconstitutional.”
Other students, such as senior Megan Poehler, feel differently.
Poehler said, “I agree with the purpose of the bill. There should be regulations on who can and cannot own firearms. The second amendment ensures our right to bear arms collectively but not as individuals.
“I come from a family that hunts a lot so I understand how important firearms are to our hunting culture and self-protection. This bill won’t try to take that away. It will prevent the wrong people from owning firearms – that is, certain convicted criminals and the mentally ill.
“The main argument against gun control is that ‘guns don’t kill people – people do.’ This bill won’t take away our guns, but just make it harder for the wrong people to use them in the wrong way.”
Although differences of opinions among students, senators and people in general are clearly evident, it is the intent and opinion of the Obama administration to keep working toward gun law reforms to make America safer.
Sources: CNN and Fox News