The Senate rejected a bill that would have expanded the scope of background checks for potential gun owners on Wednesday. In a speech following the defeat, President Obama cited conservative control of the Senate as the reason for the loss: "A few minutes ago, 90% of Democrats in the Senate just voted for [gun control]. But it's not going to happen because 90% of Republicans in the Senate just voted against that idea." One senator, Joe Manchin, (D-WV), recently suggested that his fellow members were inclined to vote the bill down because of political pressure from the National Rifle Association.
Multiple sources agree that 90 percent of Americans approve of universal background checks and more stringent requirements for gun owners in general. Vice President Joe Biden explained Wednesday's outcome despite that fact with a quote from a conversation he had with a Congressperson: "that 10 percent who doesn't agree [with gun control], they are going to show up. They’re going to show up and vote." The Washington Post reports that NRA members and other anti-gun control advocates visit their representatives with more frequency than pro-gun control individuals.
In anticipation of heightened efforts by the pro-gun control lobby, a representative from the organization stated "we are prepared for a very long war and a very expensive war."
The National Rifle Association and its supporters have been active in opposing gun control measures since December 2012. In response to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, CEO Wayne LaPierre called for protective measures in the form of armed sentinels in schools and other public places, not limitations on who can and cannot purchase arms. He said gun control legislation violates the Second Amendment.
Media Resources: Los Angeles Times 4/18/2013; The Washington Post 4/18/2013; Feminist Daily Newswire 01/30/13
12/11/2013 Human Rights Day Celebrated Around The World - Yesterday marked International Human Rights Day, a day to celebrate human rights advances and to assess the challenges that lie ahead in protecting them.
"The fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place: these include a strong and growing body of international human rights law and standards, as well as institutions to interpret the laws, monitor compliance and apply them to new and emerging human rights issues," said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement. . . .
12/11/2013 UConn Under Federal Investigation For Mishandling Sexual Assault Cases - The US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) informed the University of Connecticut on Monday that it will investigate the school for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases and violating Title IX, the federal law that requires all recipients of federal financial assistance for education programs and activities to prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment [PDF].
The investigation was sparked after seven women filed a formal complaint in October alleging that UConn had failed to protect them from sexual assault and exposed them to a sexually hostile environment.One woman says her attacker was expelled from campus but later readmitted without her knowledge. . . .
12/11/2013 Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark Wins Congressional Seat - Democrat Katherine Clark will become the fifth woman to represent Massachusetts in the US House Tuesday, after easily defeating three opponents in a special election.
"Six years ago, there wasn't a single woman representing Massachusetts in Congress," said Niki Tsongas, the only other woman representing Massachusetts in the House. . . .