The younger sister of Vicki Soto, one of the Newtown, Connecticut shooting victims, had powerful words for the U.S. Senate last week after a crucial gun control legislation vote requiring background checks failed. Speaking on CNN, Carlee Soto expressed what millions of Americans feel: “I am disgusted and so disappointed in our Senate.”
Click here to watch Carlee Soto’s interview.
The emotion was raw after this defeat because the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where twenty-six were killed including Vicki Soto, a teacher, and nearly two dozen children, moved the country toward restricting access to guns, including requiring criminal background checks before people buy guns which was the subject of yesterday’s vote.
Latinos overwhelmingly support this measure, regardless of political party according a Latino Decisions poll. Hispanics also favor tighter gun laws in general which likely has to do with the fact that, as is the case with the African-American community, gun violence disproportionately impacts our community and our youth. Every fourteen hours, an Hispanic child or teen is killed by a firearm.
But there’s another survey that explains yesterday’s gun law defeat. An AP/GfK poll shows 49% of those surveyed support more restrictions, although this number is down from 58% in January. This weakening in support suggests the “Newtown” effect of overwhelming public support for gun restrictions may be wearing off.
The gun rights lobby, with the National Rifle Association the most visible, had a simple strategy of pressuring vulnerable lawmakers and not budging, which energized its core supporters.
Some crossed the line: a conservative radio host told the Newtown families to “go to hell.”
Click below to hear the audio:
Others gloated, such as former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin who tweeted:
When CNN asked Carlee how she felt about this, she cooly answered “I love Sarah Palin but I can’t…even believe she would say that…No one is trying to take away your guns. It’s just a background check.”
Yesterday’s vote was a blow to advocates of gun restrictions and for families like the Sotos’ whose lives have been forever marred by this kind of violence. The gun lobby with the NRA leading the charge is powerful. But in Carlee I see the new face of the gun control movement–articulate, passionate, cool-headed, poised, and determined.
I don’t think this fight is over.
“‘Disgusted’ and ‘Disappointed': Newtown Shooting Victim’s Sister Carlee Soto to the Senate” was first published in Latina Magazine on April 11, 2013.
To read more of Viviana’s Latina politics columns, click here.Question: If the Newtown shootings weren’t enough to move forward more gun restrictions, what if anything will it take?