On June 20, 2016, eight days after the worst mass shooting in U.S. history,1 the U.S. Senate voted on a bill that would have required universal background checks on all gun sales (while exempting gifts of firearms between immediate family members).
Only three Democrats voted against the measure,2 including Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), the chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC). DSCC is “the only organization solely dedicated to electing a Democratic Senate.”3 Tester was appointed to the position in 2014 by Senator Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).
In voting against universal background checks, Senator Tester defied the will of his constituents. A March 2015 poll by Survey USA found that 74% of Montana residents support “requiring all gun buyers to pass a criminal background check, no matter where they buy a gun and no matter whom they buy a gun from.” Only 23% opposed the reform.4
As Democrats head into a campaign season where gun violence prevention (and strengthening background checks)5 will be a prominent plank in their party platform, it is essential that their leadership send the right message to Democratic candidates and voters alike. The vote taken on June 20 by Senator Tester proves that he is not capable of doing so. His vote has damaged his party’s credibility as a champion of common-sense gun reform and he must go.
Tell Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid: Remove Montana Senator Jon Tester as Chair of the DSCC.