PA-Sen: Sandy Hook Families Honor Toomey
The Sandy Hook Promise recognized Toomey as a leader on gun safety and security, naming him a Sandy Hook Promise Champion.
After the murder of 20 children and six teachers, Toomey co-sponsored a bill with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), which would have expanded background checks to firearms sold at gun shows and over the internet. The measure was voted down, 54-46, in the Senate.
“If you can’t pass the background check,” Toomey said at Sandy Hook Promise’s inaugural dinner last night, “then you are exactly the kind of person who shouldn’t have a gun.”
On a conference call with reporters this morning, Toomey said he will continue to have discussions with his colleagues to find a path forward on background check legislation, but said he didn’t “want to create any false expectation that we are going to get any legislation passed soon.”
Toomey called the Sandy Hook Promise “an amazing group” of people with “amazing courage.” The group consists of parents, grandparents, spouses and siblings of those killed in the elementary school, who “are determined to channel their grief” into ensuring no other family has to experience what they have, Toomey said.
The Sandy Hook Promise focuses on early intervention in children exhibiting signs of mental illness, social and emotional development of youth and stronger gun security and safety, Toomey said.
While his focus in the Senate “has always been and continues to be economic issues,” the tragedy at Sandy Hook reminded the junior senator from PA of legislation that had been on the table when he first joined the House of Representatives in 1999. The bill was “far broader and less controversial” than the Toomey-Manchin bill, but still didn’t pass.
Toomey said he was “honored and humbled” to be named a Sandy Hook Promise Champion on a “heart-rending evening,” and walked out of the dinner feeling “very hopeful.”
Update: 2010 and potential 2016 opponent Joe Sestak responded to the event by calling the Senator a “fair-weather friend” of gun control.
“Why should we applaud somebody who took one vote? Where is he the next day in battle?” Sestak stated. “If you believe in something, constantly fight for it.”