Slate's David Weigel captured a heartwarming moment from McCain's Oro Valley, Ariz. event. Speaking six miles north of Tucson, the senator was presented at the end of the event with a set of 19 roses. Each flower represented the 13 individuals killed and six wounded in the 2011 massacre.
The gesture stemmed from McCain's decision to break with most of the Republican Party and vote yes on April's background check bill. Authored by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), McCain stood as one of only four Republicans to support the measure, with Toomey included. The bill failed to reach the 60-vote bar for escape from a filibuster, with only 54 senators voting yes.
"I would like to thank you so much for your vote on background checks," said Pam Simon, a former staffer of wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), according to Slate.
In addition to his "yea" vote on the Manchin-Toomey bill, McCain was willing to publicly decry the Senate's decision to let the legislation go by the wayside. Among the events he spoke out on was President Barack Obama's speech addressing the same disappointment.
"I'm very familiar with the issue, but I understand how the president felt very strongly," McCain told CNN's Jake Tapper on April 18. "He was in Newtown. He feels the suffering of the families, and I can certainly understand, given his point of view, why the president got somewhat emotional."