WASHINGTON, April 18 (UPI) -- U.S. senators "gave into fear" when they defeated a bill on expanded background checks for gun purchases, ex-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a shooting survivor, said.
"On Wednesday, a minority of senators gave into fear and blocked common-sense legislation that would have made it harder for criminals and people with dangerous mental illnesses to get hold of deadly firearms -- a bill that could prevent future tragedies like those in Newtown, Conn., Aurora, Colo., Blacksburg, Va., and too many communities to count," Giffords, who was shot in the head when a gunman opened fire in Tucson, Ariz., and killed six and wounded 13, said in a commentary published by The New York Times.
To senators who said the vote was a tough decision, Giffords said nuts.
"I know what a complicated issue is; I know what it feels like to take a tough vote. This was neither," she wrote. "These senators made their decision based on political fear and on cold calculations about the money of special interests like the National Rifle Association, which in the last election cycle spent around $25 million on contributions, lobbying and outside spending."
Giffords said she was "furious" and would work until "we have righted the wrong these senators have done, and until we have changed our laws so we can look parents in the face and say: We are trying to keep your children safe."
"We cannot allow the status quo -- desperately protected by the gun lobby so that they can make more money by spreading fear and misinformation -- to go on," she said.
She called on Americans to help her "tell the truth about the cowardice these senators demonstrated," by talking to them, unsubscribing from their newsletters and telling them that their "no" vote has consequences.
"Mark my words: if we cannot make our communities safer with the Congress we have now, we will use every means available to make sure we have a different Congress, one that puts communities' interests ahead of the gun lobby's," she said. "To do nothing while others are in danger is not the American way."