Political gun debate starts anew after Navy Yard rampage
September 16th, 2013
08:25 PM ET
1 year 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. civilrightist

    The only debate we should be having about guns is the nationwide elimination of Gun Free Zones. One has to be a moron not to see the pattern. 99% of mass shooting take place in GUN Free Zones. Outside on the streets of D.C.-the entire city is a GUN FREE ZONE-only allowed to have guns in your home in DC-no exceptions! Remember, these mass murders may be disturbed BUT they aren't stupid-the pick GUN FREE ZONES to exact the most amount of carnage without having to worry about being stopped short.

    September 17, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  2. Data Driven

    @Getoverit,

    I actually agree that we need to call these weapons something else. I vote for "WMD".

    Whatever you call 'em, babe, they need to be banned.

    September 17, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  3. curious2

    the solution is NOT! Cnn gun control or the President bashing........the solution is reverse legislation.......respect people's constitutional rights and vote prayer back into school......PUBLIC MOVIE...TV....censoring.......and respect for authority......those are the things that we need to put back in this our societies....let people live to make their choices......I view mental sickness as a person's lack of knowledge about themselves in understanding....education in mental health......and survival education back in schools......home making economics ......soil planting......not just sports......and churches can help by teaching the people the barder system......in these times of our country's time of distress.....and that wealth is in the mind of the beholder.............

    September 17, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  4. Larry L

    The debate should center on the background checks required to buy any gun AND the apparently lax system being used to hand out security clearances for work in the Department of Defense. A decent background check would have identified this shooter as completely unstable and unfit for gun ownership or security clearances.

    About 90% of Americans want comprehensive background checks for gun purchases. Congress is too afraid of losing the gun lobby money to listen to the majority of their constituents – not just the radical right-wing gun nuts. Note: I'm a 34-year veteran, avid hunter, CCL holder, gun collector and amatuer gunsmith – so save the lecture about my awareness. It's common sense.

    September 17, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  5. Malory Archer

    the solution is NOT! Cnn gun control or the President bashing........the solution is reverse legislation.......respect people's constitutional rights and vote prayer back into school......PUBLIC MOVIE...TV....censoring.......and respect for authority......those are the things that we need to put back in this our societies....let people live to make their choices......I view mental sickness as a person's lack of knowledge about themselves in understanding....education in mental health......and survival education back in schools......home making economics ......soil planting......not just sports......and churches can help by teaching the people the barder system......in these times of our country's time of distress.....and that wealth is in the mind of the beholder.............

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

    In other words, censor the public, and legislate morality while forcing religion and "traditional values" down our throats but allow everyone to have all the firepower they want? Why do paranoid gun nuts hate every constitutional right except for the second amendment?

    September 17, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  6. Shmeckell

    In light of the new evidence, shouldn't this article be tossed in the garbage?

    September 17, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  7. yogi

    As long as there is such a fascination with guns in this country, the killing with continue. Guns are instruments to kill. If a person who owns a gun, there eventually will be a time that there will be a temptation to use it.

    September 17, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  8. Malory Archer

    civilrightist

    The only debate we should be having about guns is the nationwide elimination of Gun Free Zones.

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

    When this story first broke the police thought they were looking for three gunmen. Imagine everyone running around with guns – how would you know who the "bad guys" are?

    September 17, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  9. smitvict

    Data Driven says

    Debate? We've had enough debate. We need an assault rifle ban.
    ---------
    Since he took the "assault rifle" from an LEO, are you proposing a nationwide ban including police and the military?

    September 17, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  10. Ancient Texan

    Data Driven- How about banning hammers? More people are killed each year with hammers than rifles.

    September 17, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  11. Fish

    This is all about money, the gun manufacturers would sell hand grenades to toddlers to sate their greed. It is only because Congress is in the pockets of the gun lobby that we can't have background checks to screen for the mentally ill. It's all bout greed in America of late and since Wall Street collapsed our economy it has gone wild!!!

    September 17, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  12. lmc3

    Millions of people own guns and never commit a crime either with or without them. The problem is not the guns or the type of guns...it is the few people whose mental state is either ignored or denied and those who are evil/criminal by nature. Those who are evil or mentally disturbed will find a way to commit the crime, whether it is stabbing, beating, or burning down a building. It is time for attention to be directed to those who commit the crimes instead of the tools they use.

    September 17, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  13. drc

    Yes, have a few more laws as we know criminals and crazies always follow the laws.

    September 17, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  14. John Illinois

    The news came out and said this guy heard voices in his head and was seeking help from a VA hospital. He allso worked for the government. So this shows, the government failed in checking on this guy. So all you liberals out there screaming for gun control, call Obama and ask how the government screwed this up!

    September 17, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  15. Know Your Subject

    Another nutjob kills people and the media predictably starts screaming about gun control.

    Why is there never any serious debate about mental heath?

    September 17, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  16. J

    Ancient Texan- get your "facts" somewhere other than Fox.

    According to FBI data, 8,583 people were murdered with firearms in 2011. Only 496 people were killed by blunt objects, a category that includes not just hammers and baseball bats but crowbars, rocks, paving stones, statuettes, and electric guitars

    September 17, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  17. Getoverit

    @Data Driven
    I actually agree that we need to call these weapons something else. I vote for “WMD”.
    ------
    That'll really put the Lefty shills into a frenzy.

    September 17, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  18. Malory Archer

    Know Your Subject

    Another nutjob kills people and the media predictably starts screaming about gun control.

    Why is there never any serious debate about mental heath?

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

    Because that would expose the right's hero raygun's "Mental Health Patients Bill of Rights" is an epic failure, and heaven knows we can't use his name in vain.

    September 17, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  19. Malory Archer

    Ancient Texan

    Data Driven- How about banning hammers? More people are killed each year with hammers than rifles.

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

    Yeah, then we can all use our rifles for carpentry work!

    September 17, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  20. karl from az

    This isn't a GUN problem: it's a NUT problem!
    How disconnected do you have to be from reality to believe tightening restrictions on people who already obey the law will somehow restrain people who couldn't care less about the law?
    GUN CONTROL IS NOT ABOUT GUNS, IT IS ABOUT CONTROL

    September 17, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  21. Rudy NYC

    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
    --------------------
    Right. The lack of gun laws to stop people like this from obtaining guns, THAT is the problem. Because you're against common sense gun regulation must like the status quo. Guns for everyone, including criminals, terrorists, and people with criminal and emotional histories.

    September 17, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  22. Malory Archer

    John Illinois

    The news came out and said this guy heard voices in his head and was seeking help from a VA hospital. He allso worked for the government. So this shows, the government failed in checking on this guy. So all you liberals out there screaming for gun control, call Obama and ask how the government screwed this up!

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

    I must have missed the part where President Obama himself did this guy's background check. The problem is we need to stop contracting out government jobs, as there's no accountability.

    September 17, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  23. Malory Archer

    Data Driven

    I actually agree that we need to call these weapons something else. I vote for “WMD”.

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

    That'll really drive the righty shills into a frenzy.

    September 17, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC

    Ancient Texan wrote:

    More people are killed each year with hammers than rifles.
    -------------
    That's simply because a rifle is much more efficient killing tool.

    September 17, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  25. ART

    I blame the NRA,the blood is on their hands

    September 17, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
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