|ALEXANDRIA, VA. (April 18, 2013)—The following statement may be attributed to National PTA® President Betsy Landers:
National PTA is extremely disappointed after the Senate blocked several measures to protect our nation’s children from gun violence in schools and communities. Despite public outcry, this week the Senate failed to enact the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013. During consideration, multiple amendments were offered—and defeated—including those to re-enact a federal ban on military-style assault weapons and limit the availability of high-capacity magazines.
Perhaps most disappointing was the inexplicable defeat of the Manchin (D-W.Va)-Toomey (R-Pa) bipartisan amendment to strengthen criminal background checks and extend them to the purchase of firearms at gun shows and over the Internet. Although not universal, adoption of this amendment would have been a critical first step in keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and protecting our nation’s children. PTA is thankful to the leadership of Senators Manchin, Toomey, and those from both sides of the aisle who stood up for parents and families, and against special interests, in support of this common sense proposal.
An estimated 90 percent of Americans support expanded background checks, and we are saddened to see that yesterday’s outcome does not reflect the will of parents and families. Implementing background checks on the sale of firearms is just one measure in ensuring safe learning environments and would have provided American families with some solace on the heels of the recent tragedy in Newtown, CT.
A silver lining was the adoption of an amendment to increase access to school and community-based mental health services and supports offered by Senator Harkin (D-Ia) and Senator Alexander (R-Tn), and supported by a strong bipartisan coalition of Senate HELP Committee members. PTA commends this group of Senators on their strong commitment to children and families and is hopeful that this measure will soon be enacted.
National PTA and our five million members continue to urge Congress, business and community leaders, educators, parents and families to enact common sense gun violence prevention measures and seek other avenues that support school safety, such as access to quality mental health services, by expanding school and community-based efforts.
About National PTA
National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of parent involvement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health, and welfare of children and youth.