Who Do We Have to Shame to Get a Gun Law Passed?

President Barack Obama surrounded by family members of victims of gun violence (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama surrounded by family members of victims of gun violence (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

At Essence, Daniella Gibbs Léger explains her rage over the failure of background check legislation — and who she says is to blame.

Before the events unfolded last week, Washington was going to be all about gun violence. Specifically, Congress was debating a bill on universal background checks. After the Newtown massacre, after the 3,500 gun murders and 5,500 gun suicides and accidental gun deaths since Newtown, after members of Congress and the President vowed to DO SOMETHING, a commonsense, bi-partisan bill on background checks failed the Senate 54-46. That's right — it had majority support, but Republicans filibustered, forcing the Senate to reach the 60-vote threshold to even hold a vote on the bill.

And let me be clear about who I think deserves the blame: It's the Republicans in the Senate. Sure, there were 4 Democrats who voted against the bill. Their cowardice is particularly shameful, considering that red-state Democratic senators up for re-election in 2014, like Mary Landrieu and Kay Hagen, voted yes. But the GOP gets the brunt of my rage. Why? It's simple: About 90 percent of Democrats voted with 90 percent of the American people, and about 90 percent of Republicans voted against them. We didn't even need a majority of Republicans to vote yes … we only needed 10 or so.  But they couldn't even muster that — we got 4. So shame on the GOP. Shame. On. Them.

This is an issue that hits home for our community. As we all know, in hundreds of communities across the country, gun violence is something African-Americans have to deal with on a daily basis. Too many parents have seen their kids lose their lives at the end of a gun …


Read Daniella Gibbs Léger's entire piece at Essence.com.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.