The Chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, Republican Steve King of New York, said he would offer a gun control measure limited to creating a 1,000-foot gun-free zone around certain elected officials. This was in response to the attempted assassination of King’s colleague in the Congress, Gabrielle Gifford of Arizona.
Mayor Bloomberg of New York City promised to back Congressman King’s bill with a coalition of gun control groups. He had pointed out to President Obama several ways guns could better be monitored through improved regulation alone, without having to pass additional laws. Gifford’s would-be assassin, Jared Lee Loughner, had a drug arrest on his record but was able to purchase a gun despite his ineligibility.
Representative McCarthy (D-NY) will introduce a measure that restricts high-capacity clips–defined by the bill as more than 10 rounds per clip. (The gunman in the Giffords shooting used a 30-round clip.) McCarthy’s husband was killed by gunfire and her son injured by it in the same incident in 1993. Senator Lautenberg (D-NJ) will sponsor the legislation in the Senate. He was quoted as saying, “We don’t have more madmen, we have more guns.”
Senator Dianne Feinstein, an author of the expired Assault Weapons Ban (in existence from 1994 to 2004, when it was designed to expire), said she would be willing to reintroduce the law and was in preliminary discussions with her colleagues in the Senate. (Fienstein, you recall, came upon the body of assassinated San Francisco Board of Supervisor’s Harvey Milk.)
it’s unclear what momentum may persist for increased gun control legislation, given that public opinion for gun control is at a historic low (44%) as of 2010, whereas 78% supported it in 1990. Democrats, traditionally the party that has fielded the largest number of gun control advocates, appear to have ceded the issue as a result of major losses in the 1994 midterm elections and strong lobbying efforts from then on by the National Rifle Association, according to a former activist with Americans for Gun Safety.
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