Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D) joined other leading Democrats yesterday in condemning the Senate’s defeat of major gun control proposals, including an expanded background check system that polling showed most Americans supported.

Van Hollen, a leading Congressional Democrat who has made clear his positon for more gun control measures, called the vote “a sickening display of political cowardice.”

The Maryland General Assembly, behind the support of Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) and the efforts of State Sen. Brian Frosh (D-Dist. 16), recently passed one of the most restrictive gun control bills in the county, with a ban on assault weapons, an ammunition limit of 10 rounds, a license and fingerprint requirement for all new handgun sales and a ban on gun ownership by the mentally ill.

A few days after the Newtown, Conn. school shooting, Frosh and other Maryland lawmakers introduced their gun control package, citing changing attitudes on the issue since the shooting.

That wasn’t enough to make gun control measures work on a national scale. Van Hollen’s full statement:
Today, in a sickening display of political cowardice, an undemocratic minority of senators blocked a series of bills that would help reduce gun violence, including a bipartisan compromise proposal to close gaping loopholes in current law and keep guns out of the hands of criminals and people with severe mental illnesses – a proposal that has the support of 90 percent of Americans.  It is a sad day for our nation when an undemocratic minority bows to the special interest Washington, DC gun lobby to block an up-or-down vote on a common-sense idea that the vast majority of people support.

We have a long tradition in this country of responsible gun ownership – but in the wake of too many tragedies, including the massacre in Newtown, we are clearly not doing enough to keep our citizens safe.  We cannot allow politics and misinformation to stand in the way of what is best for our nation, and I will keep fighting for this issue on behalf of our children, our families, and our community.