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Currently on Capital Hill there's a hearing on guns. What I've heard so far is weak. Most do support better back ground checks but not much more.
Below is a story currently in the news.
Published: January 30, 2013
WASHINGTON — The Senate Judiciary Committee will meet on Wednesday morning for the first time since the mass shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school, formalizing Congressional Democrats’ search for viable legislation to stem gun violence.
The Lede Blog: Updates From the Senate Hearing (January 30, 2013)
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Doug Mills/The New York Times
Wayne La Pierre, the head of the National Rifle Association, arrived for a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.
Witnesses will include Wayne La Pierre, who is the head of the National Rifle Association, and Mark E. Kelly, the husband of former Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, who was critically injured in a mass shooting in 2011. Ms. Giffords, who will not testify, will make an opening statement at the hearing. Mr. Kelly is now running Americans for Responsible Solutions, a gun safety advocacy group. Other gun experts, including academics and law enforcement officials, are also expected to speak.
The N.R.A. on Tuesday urged its members to attend the hearing and show support for gun rights. Earlier this week during a hearing of a Connecticut State General Assembly task force, supporters of gun rights heckled the father of a child killed in Newtown who raised questions about the state’s restrictions on assault weapons.
Democrats are divided over how to proceed on gun safety legislation, with some members from largely Republican states resistant to any changes to the laws, while others are committed to a renewal of an assault weapons ban and everything in between. Although some Republicans said they would be open to new laws that expand background checks for gun buyers, they are cool to new restrictions on weapons or ammunition.
Many Democrats have hoped to harness the emotional impact of the Newtown tragedy, and recent polling that suggests many Americans including gun owners support some new legislation aimed at stemming at least illegal gun use, to pursue legislation that has become, in many ways, the third rail of American politics.
Senator Dianne Feinstein of California has already introduced legislation that would ban the sale and manufacture of 157 types of semiautomatic weapons, as well as ammunition magazines holding more than 10 rounds. Bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines were among the proposals being pushedby President Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
But Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has introduced his own far more modest measure that would give law enforcement officials more tools to investigate so-called straw purchasing of guns, in which people buy firearms for others who are prohibited from obtaining them on their own.
Other senators are pushing their own bills. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, and Senator Mark Steven Kirk, Republican of Illinois, have agreed to work together on gun trafficking legislation that would seek to crack down on illegal guns. Mr. Kirk is also working on a background check proposal with Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, who is considered somewhat of a bellwether among Democrats with strong gun-rights records.
Mr. Leahy is expected to open the hearing by noting that “the Second Amendment is secure and will remain secure and protected. In two recent cases, the Supreme Court has confirmed that the Second Amendment, like other aspects of our Bill of Rights, secures a fundamental individual right. Americans have the right to self-defense and to have guns in their homes to protect their families. No one can or will take those rights or our guns away. Second Amendment rights are the foundation on which our discussion rests. They are not at risk. But lives are at risk when responsible people fail to stand up for laws that will keep guns out of the hands of those who will use them to commit mass murder. I ask that we focus our discussion on additional statutory measures to better protect our children and all Americans.”
The N.R.A. on Tuesday released Mr. La Pierre’s testimony, in which he reiterates his call for armed security in schools and his resistance to new gun control measures.
“It’s time to throw an immediate blanket of security around our children,” the testimony reads. “About a third of our schools have armed security already — because it works. And that number is growing. Right now, state officials, local authorities and school districts in all 50 states are considering their own plans to protect children in their schools.”
Mr. La Pierre adds: “In addition, we need to enforce the thousands of gun laws that are currently on the books. Prosecuting criminals who misuse firearms works. Unfortunately, we’ve seen a dramatic collapse in federal gun prosecutions in recent years. Over all in 2011, federal weapons prosecutions per capita were down 35 percent from their peak in the previous administration. That means violent felons, gang members and the mentally ill who possess firearms are not being prosecuted. And that’s unacceptable.”