Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) skewered senators on Wednesday in a fundraising email sent out seconds after the Senate voted down an amendment to expand background checks for gun purchases.
"Moments ago, the U.S. Senate decided to do the unthinkable about gun violence --- nothing at all," read the email from anti-gun violence PAC Americans for Responsible Solutions, according to the Arizona Republic. "Over two years ago, when I was shot point-blank in the head, the U.S. Senate chose to do nothing. Four months ago, 20 first-graders lost their lives in a brutal attack on their school, and the U.S. Senate chose to do nothing. It's clear to me that if members of the U.S. Senate refuse to change the laws to reduce gun violence, then we need to change the members of the U.S. Senate."
The Huffington Post's Mike McAuliff relays the details of the bipartisan amendment's defeat:
The measure -- painstakingly crafted by the bipartisan duo of Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) -- was seen as the key to passing the first legislation in decades to address the sorts of mass slaughters that so recently horrified the country in Newtown, Conn., where 20 children and six educators were gunned down at an elementary school, and in Auroro, Colo., where 12 people were killed in a theater.
The amendment failed 54 to 46, short of the 60-vote threshold needed to break a filibuster of the measure, even as victims of the Sandy Hook massacre and other shootings watched from the Senate gallery and activists at a vigil outside the Capitol read the names of people slain since then, hoping to prompt action.
Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly -- both of whom chair Americans for Responsible Solutions -- had made an aggressive push for the measure over the past days, meeting with undecided senators in an effort to gain their support. On Tuesday, they expressed hope that the amendment would pass.
Despite their optimism, Kelly minced few words when saying that he wouldn't shy away from working to oust anyone who voted against the measure, including Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), a close family friend.
"You know, friendship is one thing," Kelly said. "Saving people's lives, especially first graders, is another thing."
Flake voted against the background checks amendment on Wednesday.