Senate panel to take up gun control, including assault weapons ban
February 25th, 2013
05:04 PM ET
5 years ago

Senate panel to take up gun control, including assault weapons ban

(CNN) – The Senate Judiciary Committee could begin considering gun control bills as soon as Thursday, including a measure that would ban military-style assault weapons.

Other pieces of legislation that will be considered by the panel are measures stopping illegal trafficking of guns, bolstering background checks on gun sales, and improving security in schools. Republicans could force a postponement of the Senate panel's mark up of gun legislation for one week.

Of the proposed bills, background checks are considered the most likely to gain Congressional approval. The assault weapons ban, which was introduced by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, is opposed by Republicans and some pro-gun Democrats.

President Barack Obama pressed Congress to pass tighter restrictions on guns in the aftermath of December's deadly shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut. The four bills up for consideration by the Senate Judiciary Committee have all been supported by the president.

On Sunday, Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, who is among a bipartisan group of four senators working behind the scenes on a bill to expand background checks, said a sticking point had emerged on whether to keep records on gun owners.

"I don't think we're that close to a deal," the Oklahoma Republican said on "Fox News Sunday." "There absolutely will not be record-keeping on legitimate, law-abiding gun owners in this country. If they want to eliminate the benefits of actually trying to prevent the sales to people who are mentally ill and to criminals, all they have to do is to create a record-keeping. That will kill this bill."

Coburn, who maintains an A rating with the National Rifle Association, is joined in his group by Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Illinois; Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, a longtime advocate of gun rights; and Chuck Schumer, D-New York, a longtime supporter of gun control.

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, was adamant Sunday that expanded background checks would not include provisions to register gun owners, but he said that responsible Americans looking to purchase firearms shouldn't fear robust checks.

"They check to see if you told the truth, and then it's cleared out," Leahy said of the current background check system, adding later that measures to register gun owners would not be part of Senate gun control legislation.

"It's not going to be registration," he said on CNN's "State of the Union," adding that Republicans and gun advocates need to "lower the rhetoric and talk reality."

Filed under: Gun rights
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Willy100

    NO Question – GET RID OF GUNS – Obama has the right idae – give EVERYONE a psych test (like a driving test) and IF They do NOT pass, then PROHIBIT them from buying or handling Guns – – Great Plan

    February 25, 2013 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  2. Sailingwindward

    The 1994 Assault-Weapons ban followed the democrats loosing both houses of congress after 40 years. The questions is, how much of a minority party do the democrats want to be?

    February 25, 2013 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  3. Wallaceboy

    This guy Obama is a true politician: Think about the following:
    1. This sequester was Obama's idea. He bluffed and lost.
    2. Obama has said since 2008 that cuts are clearly necessary to deal with the deficit.
    3. No one on earth thinks that the US government is "lean and mean". Do they?
    4. The GOP came back and said – "we can be flexible on these cuts – where would you rather cut?". Senate and Obama said no thanks! Obama would rather have cuts in areas that make us "feel the hurt". No interest in looking for real fat. Wants to make this a political statement – "see how the GOP is making your life tough – cutting head start, puppies and kittens".
    5. If you live on $1000 per week and you are asked to trip $23 dollars, how hard would that be? No big deal and no doubt you are more lean than the Feds. That is what this is – 2.3%. Corporations cut 10% and do not reduce service – they find a more efficient way. Why is this a big deal.
    Obama does not care about the deficite. He cares about blaming the R's and winning over "low information voters". Well don Barry!

    February 25, 2013 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  4. Joe

    The more they talk about banning guns, the more gun sales go through the roof. The anti-gun movement has put more guns on the street than the NRA could do in a hundred years. It was easy to buy an AR-15 two months ago, but now they're selling out as fast as they can be made. That's thanks to the anti-gun movement – not the NRA.

    February 25, 2013 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  5. GaryS

    Learn something the usual web prefix assaultweapon DOT info.
    There are no Assault weapons, its a political term dreamed up by anti-gun group Citizens against Violence.
    How do you ban something that has no definition? The term Assault weapon did not exist until 1989.
    What were they before that? Just guns. We do not need more laws, we need current laws enforced.

    February 25, 2013 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  6. Ancient Texan

    The "assault rifle" is a misnomer for anything that isn't a pistol or shotgun. According to FBI report for year 2011, rifles of any kind accounted for 323 murders and 496 murders were committed with a HAMMER or CLUB.

    February 25, 2013 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  7. AndyM

    Ha! Good luck with a ban. Even state bans will be nullified when SCOTUS rules AGAIN in favor of gun owners. Scalia stated that this time they will define was is reasonable to own. And that will include semi-automatic firearms in all guises. They will rule to protect magazine capacity because it is painfully obvious that gun-hating politicians can be trusted with what a "reasonable" capacity is. 10? 7? 5? 1?

    This ruling will be as big for lawful gun owners as Roe V Wade was for the pro-choice movement. And because rabid hoplophobes couldn't leave it alone, they will be the reason why all the state bans will be eradicated.

    And they will have no one to blame but themselves.

    February 25, 2013 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  8. Mark S

    It is amazing the folks that cry in absolute pain for innocent men, women and children that die needlessly from gun violence. The Amazing part is these folks would have you believe the driving force behind the cry for action is innocent lives lost, but that is often just a ruse, a lie – it is really just someone exploiting a tragedy to push a personal agenda to allieve the pain of a personal fear of guns (a phobia).

    Every day, more innocent men, women, and children are needlessly smashed to death on our roads, by traffic-law violators that wrecklessly slaughter during DUIs, texting, speeding, tailgating, and wrecklessly chaning lanes. Do any of these "caring" people calling the NRA foul things similarly speak out against the AAA not "shoring" up the availability of cars? Anyone who wants a car, whether on a suspended license or revoked registration, can walk up to any car on any used-car lot, buy it (or borrow a friend's car) and violently kill innocent people. Mind you, the AAA knows cars are available for the taking by traffic-criminals, and the AAA (and Auto-industry) do NOTHING to make sure traffic law breakers DO NOT HAVE ACCESS to vehicles.......

    If you blame the NRA for gun deaths, because they don't keep guns out of criminals' hands, then you must blame the AAA for not keeping cars out of traffic-criminals' hands, just the same.

    February 25, 2013 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  9. L2Think

    Please look up a list of Common Logical Fallacies and REALLY read them. Pro- Gun Control politicians and advocates REGULARLY make nearly ALL of them when arguing for gun control.

    All peer-reviewed scientific research thus far has indicated that the proposed laws do NOT help and might possibly HURT. Even Obama's own Department of Justice conducted a study concluding that the proposed “assault weapon” laws would not impact violent crime or murder rates.

    Whether you like the GOP or NRA is irrelevant to the question of whether gun control is good or bad. You are the ones looking to impose a NEW law that creates a costly and ongoing program that doesn't help and might HURT. Impeding on civil rights and squandering resources that can go to something that does work. The burden of proof is on YOU and attacking people's character, etc. does NOT change the fact that your arguments are embarrassingly BAD.

    February 25, 2013 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  10. ak91bravo

    The NRA is me and my neighbor and millions of other Americans. It is not Wayne LaPierre alone. Enforce the laws on the books. There should be no such thing as a " career criminal" on the streets of America. Lock them up.

    February 25, 2013 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  11. Steve

    I say no to any restrictions, it's a big waste of money. Criminals have many other ways of getting guns without getting a background check. Why should I have to get a check done on somebody I'm selling to? Why should I pay anywhere from 60to$100 for a check when the gun itself may only be worth a hundred or more dollars. These checks won't be free, and neither the seller or buyer will want to eat the cost. The person doing these checks will have to maintain records, and have liability insurance, which won't be cheap. It's time for people to wake up and quit listening to the lying media, and dummies like Joe Biden, and our stupid President. I won't follow any new laws, and any attempt to take firearms will end badly for those who try to disarm law abiding, honest Americans.

    February 25, 2013 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  12. Justin

    For those of you who refer to Chicago's gun crime problem ... please take note of the following: The Supreme Court of the United States over turned Chicago's strongest gun laws (including the hand gun bans) in 2010. Prior to that crime statistics show a several year trend of decreasing crime. Since 2011 homicides have risen 38% in the city (this statistic comes from the city of Chicago, June of 2012).There is not necessarily a 1:1 relationship between the SCOTUS decision and the crime rate, but I'd bet it's played a large part.

    February 25, 2013 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  13. Nicholas Smith

    Everybody has a right to say their views, I defended that for 34 years, they should be thankful that I and others like me were willing to risk our lives for their freedom, especially freedom of speech. I, however, don't appreciate being called a member of a terrorist organization. The NRA is NOT a terrorist organization. The NRA IS defending those people's rights and freedoms.

    February 25, 2013 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  14. jack johnson

    So if a gun is found at a mueder secne they don't want the to be able to trace it to the owner? So why put lisnce plates on cars? If you report your gun stolen they have to ignor you because you can not prove you owned one, and are trying to defraud the insurance company.

    February 25, 2013 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  15. mec

    I would like a ban on stupid laws and stupid politicians that waste our money on stupid laws. Team O, go do something with that 500k per head donation that you got. Oh wait, you'd rather spend it on proganda... sigh.

    February 25, 2013 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  16. James

    If only Pistorius had a gun, then he could defend himself against break-ins at 2am...

    February 25, 2013 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  17. Animal

    So the firearm advocates are supposed to 'lower the rhetoric and talk reality'. Hmmm. Sounds to me like the firearm advocates don't have a problem with reality, its the gun control cowards who have a problem with reality and ignorance. Not enough of the first and to much of the second.

    February 26, 2013 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  18. stars

    If you want to live with a sword you will surely die by a sword. God words.

    February 26, 2013 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  19. Jason

    To the Editor: I have noticed an inaccuracy in this article that need correcting. The definition and connotation of "assault weapon" as currently used in news articles and politics in general arose solely from politics itself, and has no bearing on the true functionality of the weapon. It originally referred to automatic-fire weapons like belt-fed machine guns and tommy guns. These are still banned under a separate piece of legislation, and are not what the current discussion is about.

    The proper term for current discussions on banning is "semi-automatic rifle". These rifles have delivered 1 shot per pull of the trigger since World War 1 (nearly 100 years, now), and are a distant third in gun crimes between handguns and shotguns, as well as a number of weapons that are not guns at all.

    "Military-style assault-rifle" could be argued to be the ultimate misnomer. Aesthetics have no effect on functionality, they merely influence consumer choice in the same manner that one might pick an Infiniti over a Nissan. Does this legislation boil down to "you can only make ugly guns", then?

    As for why are they being used, its very simple. They were aesthetically pleasing enough to be purchased over another sort of firearm, and were therefore present when intent arose. Any other firearm or other deadly weapon could have been used instead if it was available.

    To those that might compare knife crimes in China with firearm crimes in the United States, don't. You stab with a knife to kill, not slash the way those do.

    February 26, 2013 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  20. Thomas

    If you need an assault rifle , your in the wrong country.

    February 26, 2013 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  21. actlikeithurts

    Every available piece of literature composed after the 1994-2004 AWB suggests that it had no impact on crime whatsoever. So why would anyone support doing it again? As a New Yorker who just got sandbagged by King Cuomo's so-called SAFE Act, I am sick of it. Law-abiding gun owners have to jump through more hoops to get a pistol license and simply abide by the laws – why punish us more? With regard to the registration thing, there is no reason the government of our country needs to keep records on the activities of law-abidng US citizens. This is not the Soviet Union, although I would forgive you if you mistook it for such recently. Go after the criminals and repair the mental health system. Leave the rest of us alone.

    February 26, 2013 03:27 am at 3:27 am |
  22. actlikeithurts

    Every bit of scholarly literature on the 1994-2004 AWB shows quite clearly that it did NOTHING to combat crime, hence there is no valid reason to try it again. Ever. There is no debating this and anyone who suggests otherwise is either allergic to truth or intentionally ignorant. As far as registration is concerned, there is absolutely no reason the government needs to maintain records on the activities of law-abiding American citizens. Enough is enough. Punish criminals and overhaul the mental health system. Leave the rest of us alone.

    February 26, 2013 03:35 am at 3:35 am |
  23. TM

    Ban gun sales to stop shooting such as what happened to the 20 children.

    Sounds good on the surface. Where did he buy the guns?? He did not. He committed a murder and took the guns from his victim.

    Ban assault weapons to stop gun violence like what happened in the grade school. Sound good on the surface..... Except he did not use an assault weapon.

    The one common theme which appears to be missed by many is that high visibility violent crimes are committed by unstable person which are prohibited by law from having guns, or are gang related.

    Has anyone looked into what Chicao has done to curb gang violence? I believe they cut funding to gang units. Go a few miles outside Chicago to one of the neighboring cities in Ill and see what happened to gang violence when gang violence is addressed. Aurora Illinois have zero murders last year.

    Efforts addrssing gang violence is down, crime is up. Concentrate on gang violence and crme goes down. The two locations mentioned above are perfect examples of how to and not to address vilolent crimes.

    February 26, 2013 03:40 am at 3:40 am |
  24. redleg500

    @The NRA is a T e r r o r i st organisation

    "Weapons of War"? ARs are not weapons of war. Please learn the facts before posting.

    February 26, 2013 06:03 am at 6:03 am |
  25. Guest

    Actual assault weapons are already illegal. Crime control not gun control. Any vote agaisnt the 2nd is a vote to ensure you will be out of office soon.

    February 26, 2013 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
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