The father of Hadiya Pendleton said that the failure of the Senate to pass a measure that would expand background checks for gun purchasers was nothing short of an act of cowardice on the part of elected officials in Washington.
“It’s very, very disappointing to know that it is going to take something even more drastic to get a common sense law passed to control the spread of guns,” said Nathaniel A. Pendleton, in an interview with BET.com.
“These people didn’t have the cojones to do something to prevent these cowardly acts of gun violence,” he added. “The right thing to do was obvious.”
Hadiya Pendleton was a 15-year-old honors student in the South Side of Chicago who was shot to death in a park by someone who mistook her for another teenager, police said. She was gunned down a week after she performed with a marching band at the inaugural festivities of President Obama’s inauguration in January.
Her death became a national symbol of the heartbreak of gun violence in urban America. Her funeral was attended by Michelle Obama and her parents sat with the first lady during the president’s State of the Union address.
Since the January shooting, her parents have spoken out publicly against gun violence and have been calling for measures to curb the availability of firearms.
The U.S. Senate on Wednesday rejected a bipartisan measure that would have established more extensive background checks for people buying guns. In the vote, 54 senators voted in favor and 46 voted against it. The measure required 60 votes for passage.
“The fact that they didn’t pass this law is a slap in the face of a lot of people who have been affected by gun violence,” Pendleton said. “They are saying that they really don’t care about the loved ones that people have lost. They are saying that money is going to rule and not common sense. I wonder how many people have sold their souls while not letting this measure pass.”
Pendleton said he will not be deterred in speaking out against gun violence and calling on elected officials in Washington to pass gun-control legislation.
“It inspires me to keep working,” he said. “I won’t just work harder. If nothing else, I will be working triple time now. People are having easier and easier ways of getting guns and shooting people in the streets.”
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(Photo: Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)