Political gun debate starts anew after Navy Yard rampage
September 16th, 2013
08:25 PM ET
10 months ago

Political gun debate starts anew after Navy Yard rampage

Washington (CNN) - Hours after the Washington Navy Yard shooting, some of Washington's most vocal advocates for gun control started to renew their calls for further restrictions on firearms.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, one of the strongest proponents of a ban on assault weapons like the AR-15 that suspected shooter and military contractor Aaron Alexis is believed to have used, issued a statement Monday asking "When will enough be enough?"

"Congress must stop shirking its responsibility and resume a thoughtful debate on gun violence in this country. We must do more to stop this endless loss of life," the California Democrat said in the statement. (Read Feinstein's statement below.)

It remains unclear exactly what happened at the Navy Yard Monday, with no indication of where the weapons used came from.

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Fellow Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia did not go quite as far as Feinstein in his calls Monday for gun control. But the sentiment was there in the statement Rockefeller put out that also expressed his sorrow at the tragedy. (Read Rockefeller's statement below.)

"We are becoming far too familiar with senseless, tragic violence. This is the seventh shooting since 2009, and these repeated incidents demand our attention," Rockefeller said.

Efforts to push gun control legislation through Congress led by Vice President Joe Biden have stalled since the Sandy Hook tragedy that saw 20 school children and six adults murdered in Newtown, Connecticut last December.

VP Biden announces new actions to curb gun violence

CNN's Dana Bash reports that the Navy Yard shootings and several other mass shootings in the last 10 months are unlikely to undo the stall. Bash spoke to Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who told her he simply doesn't think the latest incident will be enough to garner the 60 votes a gun control measure would need to break a Republican filibuster.

Universal background checks have already proven political dead weight for Democrats at the state level, with the successful recall elections of two Colorado state legislators in Democratic-leaning districts last week.

Colorado recall election prompts gun debate

The National Rifle Association did not respond to a request for comment Monday. The gun rights organization has typically not responded to similar shootings immediately.

– CNN's Dana Bash contributed to this report.

Statement from Feinstein:

"I mourn those killed today at the Navy Yard in Washington and send my thoughts and prayers to those families grieving the loss of loved ones.

"There are reports the killer was armed with an AR-15, a shotgun and a semiautomatic pistol when he stormed an American military installation in the nation's capital and took at least 12 innocent lives.

"This is one more event to add to the litany of massacres that occur when a deranged person or grievance killer is able to obtain multiple weapons-including a military-style assault rifle-and kill many people in a short amount of time.

"When will enough be enough?

"Congress must stop shirking its responsibility and resume a thoughtful debate on gun violence in this country. We must do more to stop this endless loss of life."

Statement from Rockefeller:

“West Virginians everywhere today are grieving for those killed-and the families they left behind-after today’s horrendous act, made all the more terrible because it happened in a place and to people who serve our nation and work to protect us.

“We are becoming far too familiar with senseless, tragic violence. This is the seventh shooting since 2009, and these repeated incidents demand our attention. While the details are being sorted out, I hope you’ll join with Sharon and me in offering our deepest sympathies and heartfelt prayers to those affected by today’s horrific act of violence.”


Filed under: Dianne Feinstein • Gun control • Jay Rockefeller • Joe Manchin
soundoff (358 Responses)
  1. Malory Archer

    John

    Another false flag effort to take away guns. If the millitary can't defend itself on a navy base against an AR-15 then guns aren't the problem

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    Your diatribe would actually mean something, except for the fact that the guy took the AR-15 FROM a LEO after he shot him.

    September 17, 2013 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  2. brasstacs

    None of the gun control proposals would have prevented any of those horrific mass shooting and liberals like Feinstein would have to know this but still keep exploiting these tragedies because of their liberal ideological.agenda ..There is now solid evidence that Alexis entered with a SHOTGUN and then took possession of the AR rifle along with a handgun..from inside the base...If the AR rifle was taken from a guard or police officer then that weapon could have been selective fire capable of firing in full automatic mode...These weapons are already illegal for the general public...The base was another "gun free zone" for it's out side personal and civilian workers...and gun free zones seem to attract wacko's like bugs to a light.

    September 17, 2013 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  3. Jay from VA

    Malory Archer

    FreeThinker

    Funny they're back on this after another shooting happened in another gun-free zone.

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    Yeah, except the Navy Yard ISN"T a "gun-free zone".

    +++++++++++

    See my earlier post. The Navy Yard IS a gun free zone – 18 USC 930. The only people allowed to have firearms on base are base police or local police when operating on the base. Out of a base of probably 5000+ people, maybe 50-100 are authorized to be armed, and of those, probably only 20 are actually armed at any given time. If you actually pay attention to the news footage and not the talking heads, you'll see that most of the responders are from outside federal agencies and local departments – Marshals, Federal Protective Service, Capitol Police, etc. – not from the actual personnel on base.

    September 17, 2013 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  4. Data Driven

    Debate? We've had enough debate. We need an assault rifle ban.

    September 17, 2013 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  5. Wake up People!

    Why is this issue even being brought up again? Nothing will be done and even more firearms will be flooding the streets. Face it the NRA owns the GOP and the NRA is owned by gun manufacturers. The NRA has the uneducated gun toting, wild west crowd CONVINCED this is about their 2nd amendment rights, when the truth is it's about the almighty dollar.

    Nothing will change this. If the sight of 20 little dead, white, assassinated corpses didn't do it, nothing will. Carry on gun nuts, carry on.

    September 17, 2013 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  6. Grego

    It is shameful that people would use tragedies like this to advance their political agenda. Don't tread on me or you'll end up like those two State Representatives in Colorado: RECALLED!

    September 17, 2013 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  7. Shameless

    CNN shamelessly politicizing this already this morning saying the shooting could be due to sequestration and budget cuts to security. Obama et al. will now shamelessly do the same with Gun Control agenda. This Navy guy was mentally ill (fact), how did he get a security to the Naval Base? I guess the only conclusion I can make is that the Government has a bunch of "nuts" working in it!

    September 17, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  8. Anthony

    Guns don't kill people, people do. Go after the wacko's not the instrument they use. There are a lot of people with bad breath, matbe you would like to take air away from everyone too!

    September 17, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  9. Malory Archer

    Anthony

    Guns don't kill people, people do. Go after the wacko's not the instrument they use.

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    Are you implying that gun owners should undergo psychological testing at regular intervals to ensure they haven't become "wackos" since obtaining their weapon? Who should pay for that?

    September 17, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  10. Data Driven

    @Grego,

    I think I speak for most people when I say that we're not interested in your "right" to potentially murder as many people in as little time as possible.

    We need an assault rifle ban.

    September 17, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  11. Travler

    Here we go again. The "Take Them Away" mob will be howling at the full moon just because some mental case decides to go postal. With one part of my mind I cannot reason why someone would want an assault rifle for anything but killing people. They are a lousy hunting rifle and not much good for anything else but killing. If we do in fact ban them where will they stop??? I am afraid that once they (the take em away mob) get started they will not stop until we end up like those in Mexico where only the crooks have the guns. This lone killer had problems long before going on this killing spree, but that is not the case for the rest of us.

    September 17, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  12. 82ndABNVET

    There is a couple reports out now that say the shooter only brought with him a shotgun and got the AR-15 and a Glock from his first victims.

    That would make sense, seeing that the military and security guards in general are more apt to use Glocks (common weapon used by a plethora of law enforcement and government agencies) and the AR-15 (could be used by the guards as well). All you really have to do is check the SERIAL NUMBERS on the weapons to determine if they were issued weapons by either the Navy or a contract company providing armed security.

    So, I guess we will just have to wait for that to be determined.

    So, could we ban AR-15s then? I mean it would be military issue, not a civilan purchased weapon. Does it make a difference? To me it makes non. It is not the type of weapon, but the intent of the individual to do harm.

    September 17, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  13. Malory Archer

    Travler

    Here we go again. The "Take Them Away" mob will be howling at the full moon just because some mental case decides to go postal.

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    Yeah, except contrary to what the rightwing screaming heads on radio & tv tell you, there are very few people who want to take them away. The "mental case" of which you speak had a concealed weapon permit, so what should be done about people who become "mental cases" after they've obtained their weapons?

    September 17, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  14. John

    Guns are not the problem, people are the problem. This country and steadily lost its morals. Everyone is all about me and what makes me feel good. We excuse poor behavior of our kids we have removed discipline in our kids and when they grow up with a lack of respect of others and a lack of discipline we wonder why they did these acts. It is not hard to figure out but instead we blame an object.

    September 17, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  15. Really???

    Please, please, please bring up another vote prior to the 2014 elections. The republican party would love to gain even more seats in the House. Please see Colorado for reference. Please inform us how any more gun laws than what are already in place would have helped in this situation.

    September 17, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  16. Bob

    1 failed shoe bombing and we all have to take off our shoes at the airport.

    20 mass shootings per year since Columbine and no change whatsoever in our gun laws.

    Bottled water is more regulated than guns in this country.

    God bless Amerrrrka!

    September 17, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  17. Malory Archer

    Really???

    Please inform us how any more gun laws than what are already in place would have helped in this situation.

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    Annual psychological evaluations for anyone who insists on owning guns, and removing them from those who are unstable. Too many people have obtained them "legally", then went psycho after the fact.

    September 17, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  18. Don

    From I've been hearing, this was committed by a mentally deranged person, who got off scott free from previous gun-related crimes to commit more firearm related crimes on a gun free zone, in one of the most strictest pro gun control areas in the US. To me that's like banning a toddler's cup because they keep spilling juice on the floor in hopes that the kid won't make a mess...yeah the cup is gone, but there's still a ton of other stuff in the house..

    September 17, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  19. The little Red Hering

    OMG – Maybe we should ban "mental cases" from getting security clearances – and "guns". I'm starting if we shouldn't have a debate about getting rid of nut jobs that inscesantly rant about GUN CONTROL! It is a red hering of magnificient proporations!

    September 17, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  20. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    The Navy Yard IS a gun free zone – 18 USC 930. The only people allowed to have firearms on base are base police
    -------------------------------------------------
    If ANYONE on base is allowed to carry guns it is NOT a gun free zone.
    Please see "Smoke Free Zone".
    Did I hear correctly that the shooter actually killed one of those base police and take their AR-15?
    Would've NEVER happenned in a "Gun Free Zone".

    September 17, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  21. Really???

    Malory Archer

    Really???

    Please inform us how any more gun laws than what are already in place would have helped in this situation.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Annual psychological evaluations for anyone who insists on owning guns, and removing them from those who are unstable. Too many people have obtained them "legally", then went psycho after the fact.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Not bad....My first question would then be how do you pay for the evaluations? Owning a gun is a constitutional right. I don't believe that you could put the cost back on the gun owners. My second question would then be who determines that someone is unstable. How do you enforce/track the law if someone doesn't get their evaluation? How do you deal with illegally purchased weapons and the inability to perform evaluations on those that the government is unaware of having weapons?

    On paper the idea sounds good...but it would be just one more thing to punish law abiding gun owners.

    September 17, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  22. Malory Archer

    The little Red Hering

    I'm starting if we shouldn't have a debate about getting rid of nut jobs that inscesantly rant about GUN CONTROL!

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    What?

    September 17, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  23. scarf

    None of the gun control proposals would have prevented any of those horrific mass shooting
    ===============================================================================
    Then why doesn't the pro-gun side propose something that WOULD prevent these mass shootings? Before you claim that they do, note that as soon as the other side accepts them (like keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill) the pro-gun side suddenly is opposed to their own proposals, because they realizie that putting them into place requires monitoring ALL gun owners in order to identify the ones who shouldn't have guns. Even putting armed guards in places don't stop these shootings, as Columbine and the DC Navy Yard prove. Without some serious proposal from the pro-gun side that would prevent these shootings, their default position is, "The occassional massacre is the price we pay for our Second Amendment rights."

    September 17, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  24. scarf

    Really???

    Please, please, please bring up another vote prior to the 2014 elections. The republican party would love to gain even more seats in the House. Please see Colorado for reference.
    =========================================================================================
    I wouldn't use Colorado as evidence for your position. With only a 20% turnout in the recent recall election, drawing conclusions about what would happen in an election with 50-60% turnout is a fool's errand.

    September 17, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  25. Getoverit

    @Data Driven

    We need an assault rifle ban.
    ----–
    We need a false terminology ban, starting with "assault rifle". And you need a new name.

    September 17, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
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