Coburn blames 'moral decline' for gun violence problem

The Senate is considering the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act, S.649, which would expand background checks on gun purchases, crack down on gun trafficking and beef up security in schools. Some GOP senators have said the bill goes too far and infringes on the rights of gun-owners.

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Democrats have been pushing for stricter gun laws since December, when a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six school employees at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Coburn said that gun-control legislation wouldn’t stop violence in America.

“We can’t legislate away the evil that is around us,” Coburn said. “We fix it by the way we live our lives.

“The real disease is the moral decline of our country. … America is built for a good moral people we have to have the leadership to call us back to that.”

Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) also argued that gun violence is a moral problem, not a legislative one. Enzi suggested that parents should simply tell their children “it’s not okay to kill people.”

Earlier Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said that even if the Senate gun control bill saves one life, it would be worth passing.

“I believe that if we can save the life of a single American, we owe it to ourselves to try,” Reid said. “Today I chose to vote my conscience because if tragedy strikes again, I’m sad to say it will, … I would have trouble living with myself.”

The Senate is scheduled to vote on nine amendments Wednesday, all of which are subject to a 60-vote threshold. More amendment agreements are possible later this week or next. Coburn said he's offered an alternative bill as an amendment and hopes to get a vote on that soon.

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