MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

May 14, 2013

THE PEOPLE SPEAK – US senators block bill to reduce gun violence


— Oklahoma’s U.S. Senators Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe were among 45 senators who recently helped block a sensible measure to reduce gun violence.

Specifically, they voted down a measure to expand background checks for gun buyers, a step favored by 86 percent of Americans, according to recent polls.

Our senators were not even asked to vote for tougher measures like bans on military-type assault weapons or high-capacity magazines, also favored by 56 percent of Americans, according to a Quinnipiac University poll.

By opposing background checks for gun buyers, Senators Coburn and Inhofe voted in favor of allowing the mentally ill and criminals to buy guns! They call it “Second Amendment” rights. I call it cash for their campaigns from the gun lobby:

Statistics from the National Rifle Association indicate that $8,165,490 dollars of gun lobby money went to 45 U.S. Senators. Of that amount, Senator Coburn got $21,184 and Senator Inhofe got $52,617. They sold cheap; Senators Roy Blunt (Missouri), Ron Johnson (Wisconsin), and Rob Portman (Ohio) got over $1 million each.

The saying goes that “Washington is broken.” Failure of the U.S. Senate to pass gun-backgroundcheck legislation makes me believe that Washington IS, indeed, broken — and “for sale” to boot.

WANDA JO STAPLETON

Former state representative (1986-1996)

Oklahoma City