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. jeff

    No hate crime, or terrorism going on here!

    September 17, 2013 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  2. FrizzlyFry

    It's called Mental Health people. Our problem in all of these cases was a failed Mental Health system not gun control. Once this country identifies this as the problem, I will call that progress.

    September 17, 2013 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  3. Richard

    So, is this right? In the U.S., I can shoot out someone's car tires and own a gun legally after that? I Canada, if you are charged with any kind of crime involving a violent act, you don't get any guns. Still, we have 20M guns amongst 30M people.

    September 17, 2013 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  4. Dan Ari

    How many must die so that the NRA members can play cowboy without compromise?

    September 17, 2013 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  5. Dan

    "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."

    Nice to see the US is hiring deranged individuals as military contractors. Hell, for all we know we gave him the damn guns. Nothing like a tragedy to further Frankenstein's agenda.

    September 17, 2013 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  6. NameDeNorte

    Another shooting in a strict Gun Free zone in a city with very strict gun control laws. More proof all gun controls do is make victims helpless. If this guy could get a security clearance what good would a background.check. do? One question. Are we looking at background. Check affirmative action here?

    September 17, 2013 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  7. Paul R.

    The only reason anything is "reignited" is because the anti-gun media says it is.

    September 17, 2013 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  8. Donna

    Mental health issues need addressing, not gun control! When are you stupid idiots going to get it? These occurrences will never stop. Taking away guns will not prevent these tragedies, but instead strengthen those who want to threaten, rob, rape, and murder defenseless Americans. But then again, that's what our government wants. They want a more easily controlled and decreased population. They are using these tragedies to further their agenda. Shame on anyone, politician or not, who supports gun control.

    September 17, 2013 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  9. mk2aw

    45 million responsible gun owners in America committed no crime with their guns today and will commit no gun crime in their entire lifetime. its not a gun issue it is a mental health issue. The day politicians focus on the actual issue is the day it begins to be corrected.

    September 17, 2013 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  10. traumapete

    Let's confiscate all the guns so they don't kill the children we haven't aborted......Hypocrites.

    September 17, 2013 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  11. RickKCMO

    Even though crimes like this hit the headlines, gun crime in the US is at historical low levels. The shooter had a security clearance to work for the government. He would not have been stopped by a background check to buy a gun.

    The best thing the congress could do is to somehow provide mental health care to everyone in need regardless of income. The mentally ill walk the streets of the US committing crimes that rarely make the national news. This last January a man in NYC was convicted of stabbing 4 people to death on the Manhattan subway system in 2011. He had regular outbursts during the trial and was clearly mentally ill. Instead of being treated in a mental hospital, he will now go to prison.

    Even though it is not as exciting or emotion driving as todays headlines, a lot of this countries crime problems could be handled by just taking care of the mentally ill. But for some reason people would rather turn the other way when it comes to helping others.

    September 17, 2013 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  12. Chris Green

    HA..DC is the leader in gun control, and this still happenend. No surprise.

    September 17, 2013 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  13. JT

    I suppose it would make everyone feel better if it had been a bomb instead of a gun...

    September 17, 2013 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  14. Aom

    Yea, isn't that coincidental. Kind of makes you wonder if there are brainwashed Manchurian Candidates being manufactured to push through an agenda. There has been way too many incidences to explain this off as people with mental issues. If this is true we need to start checking the water. So what's next, the only safe place to be is in Prison?

    September 17, 2013 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  15. alex sansone

    As the victim of gun violence i would like to think that outlawing guns would mean that it would never happen to anybody again but that's just ridiculous. If i had a gun would it have changed my outcome? Maybe not but maybe so. Bottom line my chances would have been better. The fact is guns exist. Period. No matter what laws are made no one can go back in time and undo it. Drugs are illegal. I've never seen that fact keep an addict from getting high.

    September 17, 2013 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  16. Anonymous

    Screw the debate...Get the People who are dying in Colorado help and focus on them

    September 17, 2013 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  17. John J.

    How long do we need to pretend we don't have a mental health crisis and that it is really a gun crisis?

    Will we be asked to pretend that a guy with evil intent and a 10 round magazine is less of a problem than the same man with a 12 round magazine?

    Or will we demand real solutions for a change?

    September 17, 2013 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  18. Jerry

    Sounds like a red herring argument – if he was a military contractor, he would have access to weapons that civilians, regardless of any firearm restrictions would not. So we could ban away, but it wouldn't have stopped this rampage as he would just get the guns from work.

    September 17, 2013 01:37 am at 1:37 am |
  19. AbleWitness

    This fellow in 2010 had an ongoing grief with his neighbor above him over noise. He lost it one day and shot up into her apartment above his. So, shooting into an occupied dwelling, attempted murder, and commission of a felony using a firearm got him zero time in prison. Had he been where he belonged, jail, he would not be out shooting people.

    September 17, 2013 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  20. vizioneer

    How does this stir up a gun debate. Come on Obama, you hired this shooter. He's one of the govt. employees, and probably equipped by the govt.. So don't blame the average, law-abiding American. If the average American were armed, he would have neutralized this enemy.

    September 17, 2013 01:51 am at 1:51 am |
  21. Shelia

    Well let's see Police shooting bystanders in NY. NC man kills an accident victim seeking help and now a military man at Navy Yard..who is it again that needs gun control? So only those people should have weapons and everyone should be unarmed.

    September 17, 2013 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  22. GIUK

    Debate. That's what they do best in Washington. Talk. Jaw-jack. Shoot the breeze. BS. Confab. And in the end they'll do nothing.

    September 17, 2013 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  23. Shelia

    Well let's see Police shooting bystanders in NY. NC Police man kills an accident victim seeking help and now a military man at Navy Yard..who is it again that needs gun control? So only those people should have weapons and everyone should be unarmed. I'm thinking more training is what should be called for.

    September 17, 2013 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  24. anon

    Um no it doesn't. Stop trying to spew more anti gun propaganda. It didn't work the first time, it's not going to work now.

    September 17, 2013 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  25. Jimjones11111

    Guns don't kill people. People with guns kill people.

    September 17, 2013 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
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