Jan 08 2013
Hopes for Comprehensive National Gun Control High, as White House and Congress Start Piecemeal Efforts
Aurora, Colorado experienced yet another shooting incident on Saturday, only five months after the movie theater massacre last summer that left 12 people dead and 58 injured. This latest shooting resulted in four dead, including the gunman who exchanged gunshots with police officers. Gun-related shootings are so common place these days, that it took the murder of 20 children at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut last December to provoke lawmakers into introducing any gun control legislation.
At least eight new bills have been introduced since the new Congress was seated on Thursday. The bills were met with significant opposition from the NRA, including one introduced by Virginia Representative Jim Moran that is similar to a bill from last year that failed. Moran, who claims his current legislation has support from two-thirds of NRA members, is proposing prohibiting anyone that is on the Terrorist Watchlist from purchasing a gun and requiring training for those that carry a concealed gun.
Among the other bills that have been introduced are ones that include raising the purchasing age to 21, banning high-capacity ammunition such as the one used at Sandy Hook, closing the so-called “gun-show loophole,” improving the database used in background checks, and requiring national registration of hand guns. Also in the mix is a proposed bill from gun proliferation advocates, who, taking the NRA’s lead, have actually gone as far as proposing the elimination of “gun-free zones” in schools.
Meanwhile President Obama today called on representatives from various groups including those against gun control and those representing victims of gun violence, to discuss solutions to gun violence at the White House. The President is seeking proposals by the end of the month. Vice President Joe Biden, appointed by Obama to lead a task force on gun violence, has also released his proposals for gun safety and control, that the pro-gun side says are too extreme. Biden’s policies include universal background checks, using a national database to track the sale and movement of weapons, and tighter checks on buyers with mental health issues.
In addition to government efforts, former Congressional Representative Gabrielle Giffords, herself the survivor of a mass shooting, has, with her husband Mark Kelly, launched a new organization to address gun violence this week, called Americans for Responsible Solutions.
GUEST: Lisa Graves, Executive director of PR Watch and former deputy assistant general on gun policy at the US Department of Justice