WASHINGTON — Responding to outrage over his vote to advance gun legislation past a procedural hurdle, Sen. Tom Coburn said Friday that debate on the bill was necessary to address gaps allowing “dangerous people” to acquire firearms.
“Every act of gun violence not only takes away the rights — and sometimes lives — of victims but also chips away at the rights of law-abiding citizens,” Coburn said in a lengthy statement.
“Responsible gun owners should be leading the effort to make sure firearms are used for the purpose our founders' intended — self-defense and freedom, not mayhem and murder.”
Coburn, R-Muskogee, received a barrage of negative comments on his Facebook page and at his offices in Washington and Oklahoma for his vote Thursday to allow debate on a bill proposing to expand background checks and crack down on gun trafficking.
Many of the Facebook posts were laced with obscenities and called him a “traitor.”
Others were a bit more diplomatic but still critical of Coburn's decision to join 15 other Republicans in voting to advance the bill rather than filibuster.
Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, voted against moving the bill to debate.
The bill advanced by a vote of 68-31, and votes on amendments could come next week.
A man named Mike Gilbert, of Oklahoma City, wrote this post on Coburn's Facebook page: “Mr Coburn I am a 63 year old Vietnam Vet. Worked 40 years and paid my taxes. Gov. Fallin signed the bill for open carry. I continue to carry mine under cover but I thank her for standing up for our 2nd Amendment.
“I ask that you do not sell us down the river. If you give an inch the left wing will take a mile. I supported you in the past. I will no longer. Please stand with Oklahoma as a proud 2nd Amendment state. I ask that you give in no farther.”
And another named Wes Morris, of Tulsa, said, “It's a damn good thing you are term limiting yourself. Although I would love to see you get hammered in a primary.
“What about “Shall Not Infringe” do you not understand? Your next step should be to run for “Community Organizer” in Chicago. Then you can follow in your idols footsteps and you two love birds can have dinner together every night. Thanks for selling out the American People, and Oklahoma.”