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PA-Sen: Sandy Hook Families Honor Toomey

Pat-ToomeySen. Pat Toomey was honored by families of the Sandy Hook massacre last night for trying to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.

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.”

The former Congressman appears to be referencing votes on amendments from Senators Lautenberg and Feinstein that took place the same day as the vote on Manchin-Toomey.

7 Responses

  1. You’re kidding Mike, right? Schumer and the Democrats in the Senate were elated their counterparts deep sixed this bill for them. There was more in there for them to hate…they knew they’d have to take a vote on the record about family transfers (brilliant strategy btw); it also made listbuilding illegal. Too bad the NRA leadership, which privately endorsed it (but publicly first said they’d be neutral) can’t explain these things to its members.
    What did the 2A community lose? You need to get background checked at all gun shows instead of just some…give me a break.

  2. Toomey apparently didn’t get it the first time. This is going nowhere. We have no appetite for more gun control or further restrictions. This is a state with a million concealed carry holders.

    Maybe he needs to be taught twice how unpopular his tone deaf love for a Chuck Schumer-drafted bill will resonate.

    Sadly he is less worse than his opponent, so I don’t see many other options for liberty-minded voters.

  3. If the NRA and RTBA zealots thought for a moment that they couldn’t count on Toomey, they’d be crying bloody murder (maybe a bad choice of phrase) about his “treachery.” They aren’t. They know they can still depend on him if his vote is ever really needed.

  4. As I have said before about Toomey, what do we need him for? he can’t sway even a few members of his caucus to join with him on votes that are important for Pennsylvania, like the gun issue, and is so wrong on every other issue and out of touch with regular Pennsylvanians, that he is worthless to us. I agree that this was an empty gesture on his part, since he knew it was safe for him to do it and it had no chance to pass and he was given a free pass by the gun lobby to do it – his “work” with Joe Manchin was a cheap political stunt.

  5. May not matter who runs or how much money they have. Toomey knows he can milk what is essesntially an empty gesture — because gun laws aren’t changing no matter what he says — and it will gain him an undeserved reputation as a moderate and no one in his party will lift a finger to oppose him.

  6. Toomey gains plaudits from both sides of the aisle. Meanwhile, Admiral Sestak stages a bizarre walk around Pennsylvania and raises money at the rate of a lemonade stand. The Dems need to get it together or Toomey is going to cruise in ’16.

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