Political gun debate starts anew after Navy Yard rampage
September 16th, 2013
08:25 PM ET
9 years 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?"

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"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.

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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 Brown in Jersey

    Keep voting out the gun control politicians, you imbeciles! Hopefully YOUR kids won't get slaughtered.

    September 16, 2013 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  2. Gurgyl

    Pass Gun-Ban Laws. Only redressal. Period. NRI thugs are crazy–quash these idiots and move forward. O.k.

    September 16, 2013 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  3. mickeygib

    Think about this. Is there any difference between these mass murderers and suicide bombers? I think not. If these deranged persons were strapping explosives onto their bodies, and thereby killing large numbers of persons, we could come together to stop that from happening, could we not ? We would find a way to deny deranged persons access to explosives, wouldn't we ? Guns are the equivalent of the explosives of suicide bombers.

    September 16, 2013 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  4. Jason

    Gun prohibitionists couldn't wait one single day to wait and politicize this awful tragedy.

    Clearly if guns were banned from Federal property and from the District of Columbia, this wouldn't have happened.

    September 16, 2013 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  5. Bob

    We need gun control reform now! Take ALL guns away from criminals and increase guns to citizens with daily carry.

    September 16, 2013 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  6. TransitDave

    Kinda stupid headline. I mean, A military base isn't exactly a gun free zone, and DC has some of the toughest gun control laws in the nation. And yet, this guy got his guns, got into a secure base and shot over a dozen people. The real debate should be about why there is such ineffective security at our military bases, and the solution is probably more guns, not fewer. And on that subject, why aren't Military NCO's and officers armed?

    September 16, 2013 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  7. MaryM

    If they could just get the semi automatics off of the ok to sell list, that would be a good start. Like Reagan did

    September 16, 2013 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  8. Don

    When oh when will the media and politicians learn to STOP calling a semiauto-only rifle an "assault rifle"? WHEN? Assault rifles are regulated by the National Firearms Act of 1934 by virtue of being autofire weapons. And turning the semiauto-only AR-15 into fully auto is regulated by the Gun Control Act of 1968. Why the dishonesty by the media and politicians?

    September 16, 2013 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  9. NoBama2012

    CNN you can't take our guns away....

    September 16, 2013 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  10. Quixote

    Meanwhile.......repubs at the state level are trying to make it ever easier for the armament cartel to sell deadly deadly weapons......

    and congressional republicons are busy posturing about how are going to repeal affordable health care, resist efforts for a living wage or reasonable taxatin of the welathy, and how they plan to scuttle the world economy like the Concordia if they do not get the insane agenda they are promoting. Never mind there are real issues and actual solutions to problems that would be relatively easy if we could get the repub leadership to grow a pair and stop soiling their depends every time they hear a teapot whistle.

    Tme for Amricans to start actually THINKING about issues instead of twking their cues from fox and talk radi infotainment.

    September 16, 2013 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  11. Lexagon

    "We are becoming far too familiar with senseless, tragic violence..."

    That's a function of information technology, not firearms. Violence of all kinds, gun violence included. has been declining dramatically since we outlawed leaded gasoline. Also, from what's been reported, the gun used for most of the shootings was stolen from a LEO the shooter killed with a plain-vanilla hunting shotgun. Is the argument going to be that the government can't be trusted with guns, or that hunting should be illegal?

    September 16, 2013 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  12. hogan036

    Again Feinstein and all her liberal democrats want to banish AR-15s because of how they look, if this was just a regular rifle that shot the same ammo there would not be this outrage she say's. It is so sad that so many people and this President want to take guns away from law abiding citizens, murder has been going on for as far as we can remember, it will continue even if their is an assault rifle ban. Feinstein needs to retire to a nice senior citizens home... Remember these weapons were locked up in a safe on the base, the only gun he bought was a shotgun, very legal to buy.... Again this guy had mental issues as the news reports, try putting more money and your effort's into identifying these crazy people, not law abiding citizens.... I feel bad and always do when I hear of these nut cases getting ahold of these weapons or any other weapon, but the way to prevent this is not to ban assault weapons but to identify these people. How long will it be before Feinstein and all her liberal brethren in Congress scuttle the 2nd Amendment? this is their ultimate goal nothing more nothing less.. Hey Feinstein hands off my gun.. and is it not time you retire, you been in there doing nothing for some time, let some new people come in with new ideas instead of your old archaic way of thinking.

    September 16, 2013 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  13. Ron L

    Frankly, I don't see anything changing. Why should it? Just 6 months ago the 80% of the American public wanted to see universal background checks and reduction in clip sizes to 15 bullets. IT DID NOT PASS!!! The NRA which is a small part of the America populace seems to have more influence than 80% of the nation. This fetish with firearms is extremely dangerous and until there is an incident like this almost WEEKLY, it is not going to change. There are too many people who THINK they have self control with easy access to guns. So sad, so many more innocent people will be shot before any sensible restrictions will be implemented.

    September 16, 2013 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  14. Dubhly

    hmm 5th shooting since 2009....how many police incidents have we had in the past couple months....Take the guns from the cops till they get a reeducation in the use of force. BEFORE even starting to talk about disarming the populous
    Not that any of that rant justifies or attempts to justify what this guy did, and my condolences go out to all the relatives and friends of those slain. Those same condolences go out to those slain by the police in unjustified murders across the country, a sorry increasing problem.

    September 16, 2013 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  15. Scott

    What a shame that when Obama's term is done it will be 8 years of wasted American History due to a Community Organizer incapable of doing nothing but dividing the Country.

    September 16, 2013 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  16. Mike

    Yes, lets start this debate before all the facts are in. Typical politicians.

    September 16, 2013 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    It would be great if we had the "mental health" debate first. it would likely be far more productive.

    September 16, 2013 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  18. billy

    More gun control equals more recalls . 2 democrats learned that this is a losing position to take.This recall stuff may be the best way to win back the senate . Let the dems talk gun control and let the recalls begin.

    September 16, 2013 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  19. Name

    Can we recall Obama and Biden too?

    September 16, 2013 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  20. Woman In California

    When will enough be enough? That's a question that really needs to be answered–but it won't and this tragedy along with all the others will just another media headline until it dies out. As long as there's money involved (in this case by gun lobbyist), there will continue to be a silence among those who are cashing in-in your moments of grief.

    September 16, 2013 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  21. mary

    Yep, the gun just got up. Loaded itself and went to the navy yard all by itself. Why do t people figure out it's the idiot with the gun that's to blame.

    September 16, 2013 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  22. HenryMiller

    The usual rant: blame a hundred million responsible gun owners for the insanity of one nut.

    September 16, 2013 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  23. theseconddavid

    Touch the third rail, liberals. I dare you.

    September 16, 2013 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  24. ED1

    That's an easy question when Obama resigns and you too.

    September 16, 2013 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  25. mogran

    While I offer my sympathy I will not now nor ever offer my second amendment rights!

    September 16, 2013 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
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