How did your Senators vote on background checks? Let them know what you think.

Well, despite the fact that 90% of Americans want to see background checks for gun purchases written into law; despite the fact that the bill actually got a majority of votes in the Senate; and despite the fact that some 3,500 Americans have been fatally shot since the Newtown massacre on December 12 - the Senate voted down the Manchin-Toomey background check bill.

I will be honest: I am so angry, I can hardly see straight. This is not right. By any measure.

At the same time, I agree with the President: This is Round One (you can watch the video of his very powerful, and very angry, statement, below). This will happen, if we don’t lose focus, if we don’t lose our passion. If we continue to stand up and say that something has to change – we will bring that change.

Here’s how we do that: We don’t let up. We keep the pressure on.

Click here to see how the vote broke down, and if your Senator(s) voted yea, please call and thank them, especially if it’s one of these Republicans:

  • McCain (R-AZ) 202-224-2235
  • Kirk (R-IL) 202-224-2854
  • Toomey (R-PA) 202- 224-4254
  • Collins (R-ME) 202-224-2523

If, on the other hand, your Senator(s) voted no, call them and tell them what you think – here’s the list of all the nays, by state, followed by their direct phone numbers* (if you’re looking for email addresses, go here).

CALL THEM.

  • Alabama: Sessions (202) 224-4124  Shelby (202) 224-5744
  • Alaska: Begich (202) 224-3004  Murkowski (202) 224-6665
  • Arizona: Flake (202) 224-4521
  • Arkansas: Boozman (202) 224-4843  Pryor (202) 224-2353
  • Florida: Rubio (202) 224-3041
  • Georgia: Chambliss (202) 224-3521  Isakson (202) 224-3643
  • Idaho:  Crapo (202) 224-6142  Risch (202) 224-2752
  • Indiana:  Coats  (202) 224-5623
  • Iowa:  Grassley (202) 224-3744
  • Kansas: Moran (202) 224-6521  Roberts (202) 224-4774
  • Kentucky: McConnell (202) 224-2541  Paul (202) 224-4343
  • Louisiana:  Vitter (202) 224-4623
  • Mississippi:  Cochran (202) 224-5054  Wicker (202) 224-6154
  • Missouri:  Blunt (202) 224-5721
  • Montana:  Baucus (202) 224-2651
  • Nebraska: Fischer (202) 224-6551  Johanns (202) 224-4224
  • Nevada:  Heller (202) 224-6244 Reid (but Senator Reid gets a pass for voting against the thing he supports for the reasons you can read about by clicking here)
  • New Hampshire:  Ayotte (202) 224-3324
  • North Carolina:  Burr (202) 224-3154
  • North Dakota:  Heitkamp (202) 224-2043  Hoeven (202) 224-2551
  • Ohio: Portman  (202) 224-3353
  • Oklahoma: Coburn (202) 224-5754  Inhofe (202) 224-4721
  • South Carolina: Graham (202) 224-5972  Scott (202) 224-6121
  • South Dakota: Thune (202) 224-2321
  • Tennessee: Alexander (202) 224-4944  Corker (202) 224-3344
  • Texas: Cornyn (202) 224-2934  Cruz (202) 224-5922
  • Utah: Hatch (202) 224-5251  Lee (202) 224-5444
  • Wisconsin:  Johnson (202) 224-5323
  • Wyoming:  Barrasso (202) 224-6441  Enzi (202) 224-3424

*Please note: I copy-pasted these numbers from the Senate website. If something’s amiss (my fault or theirs) you can always call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for your Senators by name.

*

Big, big h/t to my internet pal @ferallike, who started tweeting out phone numbers almost immediately upon the completion of the vote.

Senate vote Wednesday afternoon on gun purchase background checks – CALL YOUR SENATORS.

Moment Of Truth: Senate To Vote On Background Checks

It’s a moment of truth for the centerpiece of Congress’s efforts to curb gun violence — the first major effort in nearly two decades. Defeat would be a huge blow to the cause and to the families of the Newtown, Conn. shooting victims who have urged Washington to act.

Call them, call them, call them – and if you’ve already done this once, please do it again, even if your Senators are Republicans and you know they’re opposed. They need to hear from us over and over - nearly 3,500 Americans have been fatally shot since the Newtown massacre on December 14.

  • The US Senate: 202-224-3121. If you’re not sure who your Senators are, find them by clicking here (if you’d rather send an email, you’ll find that information here, too).
  • The White House: 202-456-1111 Let President Obama know that  you support his efforts, and encourage him to continue to fight the fight.

Sample scripts/letters:

  1. When speaking with a Senator who’s opposed to the bill: “Hi, I’m calling from [location], and though I know that the Senator doesn’t plan to vote in favor of background checks, I wanted to make sure s/he knows that I support the bill currently being considered in the Senate. Background checks are nothing more than basic common sense, and having them in place could have saved some of the nearly 3,500 Americans who have been fatally shot since Newtown. I very much hope that the Senator will reconsider his/her position.”
  2. When speaking with a Senator who supports the bill or may be on the fence: ”Hi, I’m calling from [location], and I just wanted to make sure that the Senator knows that I support the White House gun control initiative. I think the President’s plan, in particular the idea of background checks, is simple common sense, and I very much hope that the Senator will vote for the Senate bill in question.”

h/t TPM

“GOP Opposition Mounts To Background Checks”; “Democrats Scramble To Keep Gun Control Bill Alive”

Democrats Scramble To Keep Gun Control Bill Alive:

Senate Democrats were desperately working Tuesday to keep alive the modest bipartisan legislation to expand mandatory background checks to some gun sales, claiming momentum in public and offering new concessions to skeptical senators in private.

GOP Opposition Mounts To Background Checks:

Republican opposition is growing to a bipartisan Senate plan for expanding background checks for firearms buyers, enough to put the proposal’s fate in jeopardy. But the measure may change as both sides compete for support in one of the pivotal fights in the battle over curbing guns.

The Senate was continuing debate Tuesday on a wide-ranging gun control bill, with the focus on a background check compromise struck last week between Sens. Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. Manchin said the vote on that amendment was likely to be delayed from midweek to late in the week, a move that would give both sides more time to win over supporters.

Call them, call them, call them – and if you’ve already done this once, please do it again, even if your Senators are Republicans and you know they’re opposed. They need to hear from us over and over - nearly 3,500 Americans have been fatally shot since the Newtown massacre on December 14.

  • The US Senate: 202-224-3121. If you’re not sure who your Senators are, find them by clicking here (if you’d rather send an email, you’ll find that information here, too).
  • The White House: 202-456-1111 Let President Obama know that  you support his efforts, and encourage him to continue to fight the fight.

Sample scripts/letters:

  1. When speaking with a Senator who’s opposed to the bill: “Hi, I’m calling from [location], and though I know that the Senator doesn’t plan to vote in favor of background checks, I wanted to make sure s/he knows that I support the bill currently being considered in the Senate. Background checks are nothing more than basic common sense, and having them in place could have saved some of the nearly 3,500 Americans who have been fatally shot since Newtown. I very much hope that the Senator will reconsider his/her position.”
  2. When speaking with a Senator who supports the bill or may be on the fence: “Hi, I’m calling from [location], and I just wanted to make sure that the Senator knows that I support the White House gun control initiative. I think the President’s plan, in particular the idea of background checks, is simple common sense, and I very much hope that the Senator will vote for the Senate bill in question.”

h/t TPM

Reid: Senate could vote on gun measures as soon as Thursday.

It’s looking like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid may bring new gun measures to a vote in the Senate as early as Thursday:

Reid said that he would move to cut off debate on a gun control law on Tuesday evening with hopes of beginning votes as soon as Thursday on existing Democratic legislation passed out of committee last month….

The Nevada senator’s position has been strengthen[ed] as a series of Republican senators – in the face of mounting pressure from President Barack Obama – have said they would not join with their more conservative colleagues to force Reid to produce a filibuster-proof 60 or more votes to move forward with debate on gun legislation.

Speaking on the Senate floor this morning, Reid invoked his own father’s suicide as he pressed for background checks:

“Sometimes people in a fit of passion will purchase the handgun to do bad things with it… even as my dad did, kill themselves. Waiting a few days helps. Requiring a simple background check every time a gun is sold is common sense.”

As of this day, Tuesday April 9, at least 3,346 Americans have been fatally shot since the Newtown massacre.

If you want to support the President and Senator Reid as they push for new gun measures, here are some simple ways to do that (and if you’ve already done this once, please do it again — they need to hear from us over and over):

  • Call the US Senate: 202-224-3121. If you’re not sure who your Senators are, find them by clicking here (if you’d rather send an email, you’ll find that information here, too).
  • Call the US House: 202-224-3121. If you’re not sure who your member of Congress is, find him or her by clicking here (if you’d rather send an email, you’ll find that information here, too).
  • Call the White House : 202-456-1111 Let President Obama know that  you support his efforts, and encourage him to continue to fight the fight.

Sample script/letter:

Hi, I’m calling from [location], and I just wanted to make sure that the President/Senator/Representative knows that I support the White House gun control initiative. I think the President’s plan, in particular the idea of background checks, is simple common sense, and I very much hope that the Senator/Representative will support/not block upcoming legislation.

Obama: “Tears aren’t enough.”

Update: As of Tuesday, April 2, the number of Americans fatally shot since the Newtown massacre has risen to 3,292; that’s 239 additional deaths since the President spoke on the issue last week [see below], and it includes 4 year old  Rahquel Carr, shot in Miami-Dade in a parked car. For details on those statistics, please go to Slate; for Rahquel’s story, please go here.

***************

This morning, the President spoke about gun violence and the need for new laws:

I ask every American to find out where your member of Congress stands on these ideas. If they’re not part of that 90% who agree that we should make it harder for a criminal or somebody with severe mental illness to buy a gun, then you should ask them why not. Why are you part of the 10%?

There’s absolutely no reason why we can’t get this done. But the reason we’re talking about it here today is because it’s not done until it’s done. And there are some powerful voices on the other side that are interested in running out the clock, or changing the subject, or drowning out the majority of the American people to prevent any of these reforms from happening at all. They’re doing everything they can to make all of our progress collapse under the weight of fear and frustration, their assumption is that people will just forget about it.

…I want to make sure every American is listening today. Less than 100 days ago, [Newtown] happened. And the entire country was shocked. And the entire country pledged that we would do something about it and this time it would be different. Shame on us if we’ve forgotten. I haven’t forgotten those kids. Shame on us if we’ve forgotten.

There’s one thing that I’ve said consistently since I first ran for this office: Nothing is more powerful than millions of voices calling for change.

*

I watch this man speak a lot. Every time he speaks on this issue, he is alight with righteous anger — and he is not backing down. I am so grateful.

In the [fewer than] 100 days since the Newtown massacre, 3084 Americans have been fatally shot. Yesterday, it was 3,053. That’s what we’re looking at: about 30 new gun deaths every single day.

If we want to make an effective change in those kinds of numbers, we have to let Congress know, because as he keeps reminding us, the President cannot do it alone.

Here’s what you can do (and if you’ve already done it once, please do it again):

  • Call the US House: 202-224-3121. If you’re not sure who your member of Congress is, find him or her by clicking here (if you’d rather send an email, you’ll find that information here, too).
  • Call the US Senate: 202-224-3121. If you’re not sure who your Senators are, find them by clicking here (if you’d rather send an email, you’ll find that information here, too).
  • Call the White House : 202-456-1111 Let President Obama know that  you support his efforts, and encourage him to continue to fight the fight.

Sample script/letter:

Hi, I’m calling from [location], and I just wanted to make sure that President Obama/Senator XXXXX/Representative XXXXX knows that I support the White House gun control initiative. I think that things like background checks, limits on magazine capacity, and a ban on assault weapons are common sense, and I think it’s so important to also work with inner city communities to address their particular needs — less than 1% of urban populations are responsible for about 70% of all shootings in cities, and it’s tragic that so many people are held hostage to that violence.

Useful resources:

Please call. The President’s righteous anger and dedication is not enough — this is our job. Please call.

h/t Steve Benen at Maddow Blog.

President Obama at the Newtown vigil.

*

Please – call the White House and Congress and tell them that you support good gun legislation. We have to flood them with our support, and we have to do it right now. Please.

White House: 202-456-1111

US Representatives & Senators: 202-224-3121

President Obama addresses the shootings in Newtown.

*

Please make these calls, please tell the President and Congress that we need good gun legislation.

White House: 202-456-1111

US Representatives & Senators: 202-224-3121

A few quick thoughts on the Newtown shooting & violence in cities.

Updated with phone numbers to call, below.

The news is still unfolding, the horror and the numbers still unclear, but this much we know: Some 27 people, 18 of them children 28 people, 20 of them children, have been killed in an elementary school shooting in Newtown, CT.

Before we go deeper into the day and our grief, I want to quickly say something about the coverage of violent events in America.

It is true – it is unavoidably, abundantly, obviously true – that the violent deaths of white people get much more play than those of brown people in the American media. A few blocks from where I sit, the African-American and Latino residents of Chicago face an ebb and flow of violence that scars the city afresh on a nearly daily basis, many of the victims children who got in the way or young people just trying to get to school or get back home. These are Americans who live with fear, who shape their days and are in turn shaped by fear, Americans who we, more often than not, ignore.

We ignore this violence because the people who die are poor, or we suspect they might have been involved in the violence themselves, or we just don’t care very much about the lives of people who don’t look like us, and racism can warp our own shared humanity, and we also ignore it to no small degree because it has become a daily drip — not news, far from news, just a depressing, daily reality to which most American consumers of news can’t relate. Much as we’ve learned to ignore the daily drip-drip-drip of traffic deaths, we ignore the daily violence among the disadvantaged.

When the malaise reaches the majority and touches our lives, that’s when we notice. Heroin is only a problem, they say, when it reaches the suburbs.

But it is also true that even though far more people die in traffic accidents annually, we become obsessed with plane crashes and their death tolls. All of these terrifying deaths in one place at the same time draws the eye and the heartbreak — and in this case, it was a school. An elementary school. An elementary school covering grades K-4. Not just a large number of deaths at one time, not just all in one place, not even just at a school, for God’s sake — but at a school for really, really little kids.

All of our kids need and deserve to be able to walk to and from school in safety. All of our kids need and deserve to be able to take a seat in social studies or reading and know that they will emerge unscathed. All of them: Black, white, brown, poor, rich, city, country, all.of.them.

The lives of high schoolers just hoping to live to graduation on Chicago’s West Side are intimately bound up with the lives of second graders in Newtown, CT. They all need our attention, and they all need our protection.

And they need real, workable gun laws. It’s far from all they need, but it’s a damn good place to start. Because all of their lives matter, and none of them should live in fear.

America’s adults owe at least that to our children — all of them.

********************

UPDATE:  Here are the phone numbers that we need to call - today - to tell our representatives that we need sane gun laws.

White House: 202-456-1111

US Representatives & Senators: 202-224-3121

I’ve gotten through to everyone, and was just told by the staffer of my conservative Republican Senator (Mark Kirk) that they’ve gotten “a lot of calls on this today.”

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