Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) recently wrote a letter to the mother of a gun violence victim, telling her that he supported expanding background checks shortly before going on to vote against a bill that would have done so, the New York Daily News reported on Friday.
On April 17, the gun control amendment authored by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) failed 54-46, narrowly missing the required 60 votes to overcome a filibuster.
Flake joined the group of senators who voted against the bill.
Shortly before the vote, he wrote to Caren Teves, whose son, Alex, was killed while shielding his girlfriend from bullets in the mass shooting at the movie theater in Aurora, Colo. in July 2012. Teves invited Flake over for dinner earlier this month to have the GOP senator sit "in Alex's seat."
"I am truly sorry for your deep loss. Your son's actions were truly heroic," Flake wrote in the letter. "While we may not agree on every solution, strengthening background checks is something we agree on."
Click over to the Daily News to read a copy of the note.
On Friday, Flake told the Associated Press that his vote against the Manchin-Toomey amendment was consistent with his position on background checks, and that he hoped "this debate isn't over."
"My position has been the same. I favor measures to strengthen our background checks, particularly as it regards people with mental illness," Flake said. "Although the intent, I believe, was just to take care of commercial sales and not involve private sales, it went deep into private sales."
Teves has meanwhile accused Flake of "using political speech to avoid doing what’s right.”