CORRECTED-Democrats vow push for gun control measures in US Congress

Sun Dec 16, 2012 4:40pm EST

(Corrects spelling of first name of Senator Feinstein in second paragraph: Dianne instead of Diane)

* Feinstein plans to introduce legislation this week

* Schumer senses "tipping point" toward gun control

* Republican lawmaker signals continued opposition

By Andy Sullivan

WASHINGTON, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Several Democratic lawmakers called for a new push for U.S. gun restrictions on Sunday, including a ban on military-style assault weapons, in the wake of the Connecticut massacre in which 20 children and six adults were gunned down in a school.

Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, the author of an assault-weapons ban that lapsed in 2004, said she would introduce new legislation this week. Senator Dick Durbin, the chamber's No. 2 Democrat, said lawmakers would hold hearings on gun control, and several others said they would devote new attention to the long-ignored issue.

"I think we could be at a tipping point ... where we might get something done," Senator Charles Schumer, another top Senate Democrat, said on CBS's "Face the Nation."

Any effort to restrict access to high-powered weapons is likely to face fierce opposition from many Republicans in Congress who say restrictions violate the U.S. Constitution's right to bear arms.

Gun control has been a low priority for most U.S. politicians due to the widespread popularity of guns in America and the clout of the pro-gun National Rifle Association. Most Republicans and many Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, are firm allies of the group.

Opinion polls have found Americans to be divided on the issue even after other high-profile shooting incidents.

U.S. lawmakers have not approved a major new gun law since 1994.

Feinstein said her planned legislation would outlaw the high-capacity magazines and military-style assault rifles that have factored in many recent mass shootings, including Friday's massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. People who own such weapons now would not be required to give them up, Feinstein said.

She said she would introduce her bill in the Democratic-controlled Senate soon, and a companion bill would be introduced in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

Connecticut's Democratic governor and two senators, one a Democrat and one an independent, voiced support for an assault-weapons ban or restrictions on high-capacity magazines.

'AN ARMED PEOPLE'

A Republican lawmaker signaled ongoing opposition to gun control.

Asked on "Fox News Sunday" why Americans would need to own semi-automatic weapons, Republican Representative Louie Gohmert said, "Well, for the reason George Washington said: a free people should be an armed people. It ensures against the tyranny of the government, if they know that the biggest army is the American people."

Gohmert added, "Once you start drawing the line, where do you stop? ... Gun laws don't work."

President Barack Obama campaigned on gun control in 2008, but he has expanded gun rights in his first four years in office, signing legislation that would allow people to carry weapons on Amtrak trains and in national parks.

He tearfully called for "meaningful action" to prevent further tragedies on Friday, but the White House has declined to say what measures he would support.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an outspoken gun-control advocate, said Obama will have to make the issue a priority to get any new laws enacted.

"It's time for the president, I think, to stand up and lead and tell this country what we should do - not go to Congress and say, 'What do you guys want to do?' This should be his number one agenda," Bloomberg said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, who has met with families of the victims of Friday's massacre, spoke of the need for new gun control steps.

"These are assault weapons. You don't hunt deer with these things. And I think that's the question that a lot of people are going to have to resolve their own minds: Where should this line get drawn?" Malloy added.

(Addtional reporting by Todd Eastham, Deborah Charles and Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Will Dunham)

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Comments (11)
ugg wrote:
I think it would be a good idea to ban military-style assault weapons but do not expect that to cover the entire problem.
Money is a major tool affecting our lives for the better or worse, the more money you have, the more choices you are able to exercise. People who have moderate money seem to strive for more. People with no money usually try harder but soon quit and this causes an undesirable void in their lives. A void in anyone’s life can and it usually brings forth many different roads ahead to open up, choices for different age groups and gender age groups display in one’s mind multitudes of choices and are usually generated by what these people have been exposed to over their many years on earth. (Some have; hardly no exposure to a normal healthy environment.) These voids (idle time with nothing acceptable to do) for the majority of people can usually be handled by finding something productive for one’s self to do while also benefiting the society in which they live. Because of no money, not everyone is lucky enough to enjoy the just mentioned beneficial scenario of using time in a void, especially young people along with people with less sharper minds. Myself, I believe this situation of idle time with certain types of thinking people would benefit a great deal if they were able mentally, physically and financially to meet with people at given locations with similar problems and have available at these many locations the possible various answers to the various problems each of the many participants bring to the table. (Industry would probably reject this.), (Government could probably accept and/or adapt jointly with it.) All of this needs to be done in a friendly, happy and enjoyable atmosphere. Not to mention, it may take enormous effort with various methods to bring together all the various personalities who if left to their own devices in choosing the best escape for an undesirable void could lead some to go down a road of destruction, and many do just this.
I honest believe, besides waste, theft, scams, excess profiteering through greed along with mismanagement in all walks of all of our lives are responsible for most of the problems confronting America in general. Other nations, I believe suffer these same problems more than we do.
It is probably impossible to have a prefect America but it is possible to strive to get there anyway, with one person at a time. Courtesy is contagious and so is crime, greed and laziness brought on from greed, boredom and voids.
I remember a Priest once saying. Sin doesn’t just pop up. There is a near-occasion to sin, a stepping stone to sin, if you do not avoid the near-occasion to sin or the stepping stone to sin, you probably will not be able to avoid the sin. It is that simple.
Could we say the VOID which many people experience is the stepping stones to the various crimes they commit and if so, what can we do to close the voids and help those people find a better road to happiness for everyone?

Dec 16, 2012 1:07pm EST  --  Report as abuse
fstwrtr wrote:
There is a truce with respect to 2nd amendment rights as it is now. But liberals are pushing gun owners up against the gun counters across Americas gun shops once again. Prepare for another rush on ammunition,magazines and Black guns.

Dec 16, 2012 1:22pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Jose3 wrote:
Why don’t they go after the cause rather than the sympthom?

Vow to make Prozac and other psychotropic drugs illegal.

Legalize marijuana which could have prevented the shooting.

Dec 16, 2012 1:45pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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