By Andrea Germanos / Common Dreams
Progressives on Tuesday marked the nine-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting with fresh demands for U.S. Senate Democrats to kill the filibuster, this time eyeing a need to pass gun reform legislation.
“Nine years ago today, 26 loved ones were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary,” tweeted Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “We can’t allow children to be gunned down in schools, year after year.”
“Congress should’ve acted nine years ago—but that opportunity isn’t gone today,” Jayapal added. “It’s time to end the filibuster and pass gun reform.”
On December 14, 2012, 20 children and six educators were killed at the Newtown, Connecticut school, a tragedy in which the gunman used high-capacity magazines. The shooting elicited global shock and grief, and, in the United States, increased focus on the gun lobby’s power over U.S. lawmakers.
“Abolish the damn filibuster,” tweeted Turner.
GOP obstruction in the evenly divided Senate this year has fueled mounting demands for Democrats to change the chamber’s rules and reform or fully abolish the filibuster, which effectively requires a 60-vote supermajority to pass any legislation.
In a video address Tuesday, President Joe Biden—who was vice president in the Obama administration when the shooting took place—called the Sandy Hook massacre an “unconscionable act of violence” that “shocked” the nation.
He expressed frustration that Sandy Hook and subsequent mass shootings have failed to result in the passage of meaningful gun control legislation.
“It was so darn frustrating, and it’s still frustrating now for you and me and so many others in Parkland, Florida; and Oxford, Michigan; and communities across the country—these horrific shootings make national headlines and embarrass us as a nation,” said Biden.
Even with majorities in both chambers of Congress and control of the White House, Democrats have struggled to advance gun control legislation through the first year of Biden’s presidency. Still, Biden highlighted gun violence prevention funding in his administration’s signature social spending and climate change legislation and called for the passage of three gun violence prevention bills by the Senate, arguing that the legislation was “long overdue.”
“As a nation, we owe these families more than prayers,” Biden said. “We owe them action.”
The Friends Committee on National Legislation, in a tweet marking the anniversary, said: “Let us never forget the victims of gun violence. And let us never forget that lawmakers can take commonsense legislative steps to address this public health epidemic.”