Republican Sen. James Inhofe (OK) told reporters on Monday that the relatives of people slain at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut should know that the debate over gun safety doesn't have "anything to do with them." According to Huffington Post, Inhofe believes that President Barack Obama is exploiting the grief-stricken families for his own political gain.

"See, I think it's so unfair of the administration to hurt these families, to make them think this has something to do with them when, in fact, it doesn't," Inhofe said.

When reporters protested that the Newtown families fervently believe that they have a role in the debate over gun safety, Inhofe scoffed, saying, "Well, that's because they've been told that by the president."

President Obama welcomed 11 family members of victims of the Newtown tragedy to Washington this week to meet with legislators. After a speech in Newtown on Monday, Obama welcomed the family members aboard Air Force One and flew them to Washington. Inhofe and other Republicans believe that the president is using the grieving families as props.

Inhofe is one of 14 Republican Senators who have vowed to filibuster any gun control legislation that makes it to the Senate floor.

A compromise bill regarding background checks for gun purchases is expected to go before the Senate Wednesday. The bill's main sponsors are Republican Sen. Pat Toomey (PA) and Democrat Joe Manchin (WV).

[Image via Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons licensed]