Since the tragedy in Newton, what have we done? Here’s the status of gun control legislation in Congress.
– Senator Dianne Feinstein has proposed renewing the Federal Assault Weapons ban, which was originally passed by Congress in 1994, but expired in 2004. Because of the gun lobby, her bill has become a long-shot. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that the legislation has no chance of gaining 60 votes – the super majority needed to end debate and overcome a filibuster. Here in California, however, we do have an assault weapons ban. A variety of guns which are listed by make, model, and feature, are illegal in California, even though they can be owned and possessed in many other states.
– Senator Chuck Schumer of New York is pressing to expand the federal requirement of criminal background checks for gun purchases. The current federal background check law is toothless because it exempts gun shows and other private gun transactions. Polls show that most Americans support meaningful criminal background checks. But the negotiations on this bill have stalled as well. Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, originally a proponent of the legislation, along with Senator Schumer, has bailed because he opposes any requirement that those engaging in private gun sales keep records. My question is we register our cars, why not guns?
– Vice President Biden spoke today about limiting the size of ammunition clips. He contends that if Jared Loughner and Adam Lanza had to reload their weapons sooner, lives may have been saved. He also proposes increasing the penalties for “straw purchasers,” or closing another loophole by punishing those who purchase guns for the purpose of placing them in the hands of criminals.