House Democrats unveil gun control agenda that faces uphill battle in Congress
February 7th, 2013
04:42 PM ET
1 year ago

House Democrats unveil gun control agenda that faces uphill battle in Congress

Lansdowne, Virginia (CNN) - House Democratic leaders rolled out a wide ranging set of proposals on Thursday to address gun violence, an agenda that largely mirrored those released by Vice President Joe Biden last month but faces an uphill battle in Congress to become law.

After meeting with victims of gun violence, gun rights groups, law enforcement officials and others a task force created by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi presented fifteen principles it aimed to convert into legislation soon. The central and most controversial piece includes reinstating the assault weapons ban, a politically charged issue that Congressional aides from both parties doubt will get enough support to pass either chamber on Capitol Hill. The group also said Congress should ban magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition and require universal background checks for anyone purchasing firearms.

The other recommendations included strengthening the current background check database, restoring federal funding for research into ways to reduce gun violence, improving mental health resources, and improving school safety.

California Democratic Rep. Mike Thompson, a Vietnam veteran and self described gun owner, chaired the group and stressed "I'm not interested in giving up my guns and I'm not asking anyone else to give up their guns."

After a gunman killed 20 elementary school children and six school officials in Newtown, Connecticut in December, President Obama, who did not press for any gun control measures in his first term, took up the issue and vowed to make new restrictions on guns and ammunition a top priority.

But those Democrats representing rural states and facing difficult re-election campaigns are reluctant to take a vote on the assault weapons ban, when that measure isn't likely to pass in the Republican controlled House, or even come up for a vote.

House Speaker John Boehner has said he doesn't have any plans to bring any measures up for a vote in the House of Representatives until the Senate acts first.

Pelosi sidestepped a question at a press conference on Thursday about the chances of Congress ever voting on the assault weapons ban, saying she wanted "the boldest possible package," and argued "the American people are way ahead of Congress on this issue."

Even some Democrats on the gun violence task force say it's more likely that Congress can only get enough support to pass measures beefing up the background check system and limiting the amount of rounds of ammunition in a single magazine.

But given the American public's renewed interest in the issue and public opinion polls showing more people are willing to approve stricter controls, advocates for new laws maintain this is the time to seize on the opportunity to use public pressure to get something done on an issue that has largely been ignored since the mid 1990s.

"I hope that we will have something that the American people will say they honored their oath of office to protect and defend, not that they were afraid of any special interest group out there, out of the money that is behind the gun interests in our country," Pelosi said.

Obama, who addressed the House Democrats on Thursday, mentioned the issue in his opening remarks, encouraging Democrats to take steps "to end the cycle of gun violence in this country."

But in a nod to the political challenge, the President said, "we should do so recognizing that again there are regional differences here, we should respect those."

South Carolina Rep Jim Clyburn conceded that Democrats might not get all of what they proposed right away, saying, "It may not pass - all of it - the first time out. But I am convinced, I am convinced that sooner or later we will have comprehensive legislation."


Filed under: Gun rights • House Democrats
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    "House Democrats unveil gun control agenda that faces uphill battle in Congress"

    Yawn. They could propose handing out a free 9mm semi with extended clip to everyone who can prove citizenship and it would STILL have an uphill battle solely because it came from the Dems and the GOP/Teatrolls control the House.

    BTW, it's "gun safety proposals"...not a "gun control agenda." Get the NRA out of your mouth and get out from under LaPierre's desk.

    February 7, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  2. Name lynn

    What can the deocrates unviel about the guns, nothing no one can do about the guns people are getting guns in their hands shooting an killing people. Anyway the people is waitng on what can the democrates can do.

    February 7, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  3. James

    Give it up. Its not going to happen. If it does, they will not win the next election in their state. Which isn't all bad I guess–

    February 7, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  4. Voiceofmany

    Correction Sir:
    Gun Safety, is making sure you are keeping your fire arm in a controlled manner. Making sure the muzzle is free of debris and pointed in a safe direction. Making sure the safety is in the on position when you’re not firing it. That is “Gun Safety”
    Gun Control, is when liberal democrats try to control what I purchase or own because they don’t think I should have it.

    February 7, 2013 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  5. markinlife

    Does Gun Safety also include locking up you guns so no one else can take them to kill little kids. Does it also mean making sure that no one can steal you guns to commit crimes. Does it also mean that you won't sell a gun to someone who should not have one. There is more responsibility to having a gun than owning it. Every criminal was probably born a helpless baby. You never know when a gun owner will become " the bad guy with a gun".

    February 7, 2013 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  6. JustAO

    NRA and it's members will eventually be the ones who force our society to say no to guns and gun violence since they like to promote fear and violence in the name of 2nd amendment rights. You know what other group in our society promote guns as a means of protection based on fear and violence...GANG MEMBERS! So I guess the NRA and gangs have alot in common after all.

    February 7, 2013 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  7. Bob

    Is the gun registration, mental checks, ban on assault weapons, and magazines of less than 10 rounds going to apply to the 'hoods" in Chicago, LA, New York, Washington DC, and elsewhere in large cities?........can you really see them without the latest weapons?........is it going to stop the black on black killings in these areas?.......is it going to lessen the amount of those weapons and rounds in those areas?.....if you do then dream on.....

    February 7, 2013 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  8. Joe Thornton

    Now they blame the N.R.A. Not the fact that the American people don't want to loose their freedoms. Oh wait I am wrong, this time criminals that are going to kill innocent and unarmed children will realize they shouldn't break this law(any law but this new one). This is just stupid to keep passing more, more, more, etc. laws just to justify the waste of them being in office.

    February 7, 2013 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  9. Gonzoinhouston

    75% politics, 25% screaming hysteria. What's left is a rational discussion of public safety and private rights.

    February 7, 2013 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  10. rs

    More than 1,600 Americans killed by firearms since Dec. 14, 2012. Something must change!

    February 7, 2013 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  11. Voiceofmany

    I’m not a member of any group on the matter. I just know I’m safe with firearms and don’t like someone controlling what I should have when I’ve done nothing to break any laws. That includes storing in a safe manner. The murders that occurred were horrible, unthinkable acts. However unthinkable acts occur every day all over the world. These proposals have nothing to do with reducing unthinkable acts. These actions were set in place many years ago by a movement. That movement is using it for their benefit to gain traction. It’s really sickening. It’s all about the agenda; this is just one fragment of it. People are not dumb or blind.

    February 7, 2013 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  12. CharlesBennett

    The ban will do nothing. Except force gun makers to design new weapons that are just as capable, but don't look scary to the left. At least they're going after the film and game makers as well as finally doing the most important thing... securing our schools. Now, if they can secure our schools, can't they secure our border as well?

    February 7, 2013 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  13. markinlife

    It truly amazes me that people are so scared that they feel they need guns. Are rural Americans that scared of each other? I could understand being scared if you live on the south side of Chicago, but out in the sticks? Maybe they're scared of brain- touting liberals?

    February 7, 2013 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  14. Daveb

    You can make all the laws you want. No matter what law they make, it will not stop bad people from getting a gun if they want to kill. It is said, and it is so true, that you can go to most any bar with enough money and come out with a gun. I'm a hunter and own only hunting style guns. I don't want a military style gun with 30 bullet clips. I do respect the right of my brothers and sisters in arms to own them if they wish to, as long as they don't have criminal records. You hear people say you can take all the guns away from those that do have the right to own a gun and all you'll have is criminals with them. This can't be stopped. You will make a lot of gangs and black market gun dealers very wealthy. I won't turn any of my guns in, I have the right to own them. People would be very sorry if all the non criminals turn in the guns. That would be open season on evreybodys homes and business locations. Criminals would have nothing to fear. The police can't possibly help everyone calling 911 when they are in front of a bad guy with a weapon in his hand .IIf we give in to any new laws , that will never satisfythe gun haters. They will not be happy until guns are gone. Sorry for the inconsistant writing, had eye surgery today.

    February 7, 2013 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  15. Deb

    "House Democratic leaders rolled out a wide ranging set of proposals on Thursday to address gun violence"

    Thats a real surprise. Can't wait to see the list of contributors to their AGENDA. That loser Clyburn ought to work on the epedemic black on black violence. BO Body Odor has not done one thing to suppress his own ethnicities issues.

    February 7, 2013 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  16. Cathy

    The Democrats won't let this one alone and each day they put the nail deeper in the Democrat coffin.

    February 7, 2013 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  17. pjoe

    Finally Democrats find a policy that helps the economy. Gun sales are skyrocketing!

    February 7, 2013 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  18. Dada

    Notice how quickly the Domocrats moved the focus away from school safety and school building upgrades towards the gun mania program they started years ago. Stop attacking Americans civil rights and start working on school safety.

    February 7, 2013 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  19. wireknob

    I think almost everyone, including the NRA, would want every gun owner to be able to pass a background check and exercise responsible gun ownership...IN THE ABSTRACT. The problem is that simply passing legislation to this effect does not make it so. The legislation must be implemented and enforced, and nobody on the gun control side has explained how they would do this, how much it would cost, or how effective it would be in addressing the types of crimes we've been talking about.

    To his credit, VP Biden admitted that (and I quote) "Nothing we're going to do is going to fundamentally alter or eliminate the possibility of another mass shooting or guarantee that we will bring gun deaths down to 1,000 a year from what it is now." So what is really happening here is a symbolic political response to the public's demand for action, and anti-gun activists have hijacked the effort to ramrod their anti-gun agenda through while the American public is still emotionally processing recent school shooting events.

    February 7, 2013 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  20. Ancient Texan

    It's hard to believe that the trusty little semi-automatic .22 rifle that I used to shoot jackrabbits and plink at tin cans 60 years ago was an "assault rifle". It's the same gun with some scary looking add ons to make it look military, but it scares the anti-gun zealots into outlawing it.

    February 7, 2013 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  21. Ferathka

    Nothing will happen. We will need a few hundred more 2nd graders to die in order for something to actually happen.

    February 7, 2013 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  22. ClaytonCCBC

    First of all I would like to say that banning assault rifles will have no impact on the on the gun violince rate. A gun has the ability to kill no matter what type it is. The government only wants to ban them because they knows its the first step in the banning of all guns. If they can take away assault rifles, then whats stopping them from taking away shotguns or pistols? The government dosn't have the right to ban guns from the people due to the 2nd admendment. Laws are only obeyed by the law abiding. Criminals aren't going to give up their guns, leaving us defenceless. If a criminal comes to my house holding a gun, I dont have time to wait on a policeman. By the time one comes I'm either dead or all my belongings are stolen. Backgrounds checks I do agree with. Guns should only be sold to responsible and citiznes with a clean record to prevnent them from getting in the wrong hands.

    February 7, 2013 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  23. Smeagel4T

    House Republicans don't unveil gun industry donations...

    February 7, 2013 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  24. joesmith

    isn't it funny, the govrn't ( your tax dollars ) can manufacture drone aircraft, can employ a highly paid employee to operate it, be instructed to kill the very Americans who paid for the both of them, but you need to register yours, pay a tax on yours, ( which you did when you bought it ), and say yes sir, no sir, and thank you sir at the end..something wrong with that picture..

    February 7, 2013 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  25. Leopold Stotch

    Golf balls are dangerous. People get hit in the head by golf balls and some of these people die from the golf ball related injury. We need to take steps to immediately ban solid golf balls and make the golfers play with light weight soft golf balls. Yes, this will pretty much ruin their enjoyment of their game, but since I don't play golf I don't care.

    February 7, 2013 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
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