The United States Senate's failure to pass common sense gun safety measures -- the Manchin-Toomey Amendment to expand background checks to keep guns away from underage or dangerous people, and amendments to ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines designed only to kill as many human beings as possible -- is a moral failure of great magnitude. Once again the safety of children has been sacrificed by political leaders in service to the gun lobby. As Americans do we value guns more than the lives of children? Do we really want to continue to have political leaders who kowtow to the threats and money and half-truths of the gun lobby and who think their political jobs are more important than the right of children to live and learn and grow up in safety?
It's shameful that when child and teen gun deaths are compared in 23 high-income countries, 87 percent of all children under 15 killed by guns were in the United States. Our gun homicide rate for teens and young adults 15-24 years old was 42.7 times higher than the rate for the other countries combined. There are an estimated 283 million guns in civilian hands in America -- almost one gun per person. Why is the United States alone in allowing this unbridled epidemic of guns and public health hazard all over America to continue? As parents and grandparents and concerned adults and voters, it is up to us to tell our leaders no more.