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.

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. Reddog9500

    How many people were killed by cars yesterday? A hell of a lot more than by guns! Cars should be banned!

    September 17, 2013 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Who cares? Nothing will get accomplished. Congress is full of COWARDS unwilling to stand up to the NRA. After what happened in Colorado, none of those spineless politicians want this debate now. Read portion of my tag name(No Redemption Vote). Meaning, if you didn't vote in favor of tighter restrictions before, you won't be redeemed now.

    September 17, 2013 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  3. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    What political gun debate???!
    I cannot understand people and their apparently "for the moment" phony outrage.
    Based on the inexplicable lack of logic of voting OUT politicians who are FOR commonsensical vote control I've concluded that Americans are completely fickle, stupid, or in it for the hype on this issue; more than likely ALL of the above.
    To my fellow Americans: please continue to shoot yourselves in the foot by PROCEEDING......

    September 17, 2013 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  4. bassman

    What was going on the same moment Pres. Obama was giving a partisan speech? Saying Republicans want to hurt people. Authorities were looking for a killer. People were dying. Hiding in lockers. Tone death?

    September 17, 2013 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  5. Tampa Tim

    You brain dead right wingnuts have divided the country.

    September 17, 2013 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  6. Nickathome

    Yes, ban all the guns. That will stop all crime in America......And after the guns are all gone and the next nutjob takes out an apratment building simply by using gasoline and a match, then you'll want to ban gas too I guess. Lets ban criminals instead. Better yet, lets ban politicians who only go after the law abiding.

    September 17, 2013 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  7. Tampa Tim

    Bob – In Iowa the blind and sex offenders can get guns, thanks to the efforts of the NRA. It seems that common sense regulations are not in right wingnut vocabulary.

    September 17, 2013 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  8. Realist

    Banning firearms is not going to have the effect that you are hoping for. It will just make the people trying to protect themselves and family’s defenseless. There is no such thing as “controlling” gun violence.

    September 17, 2013 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  9. Hemi1

    In the other article on CNN about this, there are revelations that cause me to say, I must ask the obvious question. HOW did this person get a security clearance at a military installation, given he had gun violence related incidents in 2004 and in 2010? Please don't tell me he gained a clearance simply by affirmative action? The fact he obtained a Fed security clearance OUGHT to be a major story by the news people, yet they will overlook it in their clamor for support of "gun control". The story claims he gained his firearms legally, so there goes the argument of further gun control. HOW did he obtain them legally, with his past record? How did he get his clearance??? To Diane Feinstein, what difference does it make WHAT type of firearms he had? Would it have been different if it were a revolver vs. a semi-auto pistol, with innocent lives still lost? A crazy nut intent on doing harm, will do it, no matter what you legislate. Enforce the laws you HAVE on the books, without granting early releases!!! Leave the law abiding people who possess guns, alone. Prosecute those who are NOT law abiding to the fullest extent, without mercy. BTW, Why the long lead reaction time from military police response units? Should not they have been quicker???

    September 17, 2013 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  10. Rudy NYC

    Pat N on page 2:

    This happened in a city where personal gun ownership is virtually illegal, in a guarded military facility. How would more gun control laws prevent this tragedy? ... ... ...
    Simple. The shooter most likely would have failed a background check for the weapons he purchased over the past few weeks in Virginia. He has had two arrests for gun related incidents in which he fired a weapon to cause property damage.. Although in both incidents, no convictions resulted because no charges were filed against him.

    September 17, 2013 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  11. Bite it

    When will people stop leaving loaded guns near children. A gun is a tool. The next time a hammer hits someone on scaffolding, we should ban hammers ?

    September 17, 2013 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  12. cleat

    Guess where the shooting was.
    1. happened a city with the most strict gun control laws
    2. a military base that does not allow ANYONE but the cops to possess guns while on base.
    3. it was NOT a machinegun
    4. how long was that...about 30 seconds before c nn and the rest of the lib media was all over the gun and it being the guns fault.
    5. wait for the oblama knee-jerk reaction and him parading the families around on a whirlwind tour to get his way.

    September 17, 2013 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  13. Terry

    Wow!!! I must be psychic. I predicted that the anti-gun nuts in this country would use this incident to promote their agenda. Now if I can just pick those winning Powerball numbers for the $400 million dollar jackpot, I'll be all set for life and won't have to read another article like this.

    September 17, 2013 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  14. miked

    i will gladly give up my 2nd amendment rights. Too many nut jobs. only if only the police and military would give up their weapons as well. looks like im keeping my arsenal.

    September 17, 2013 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  15. Malory Archer


    Why was that fool allowed access to the yard? It's not responsible gun owners fault that he slipped through the cracks.


    Yeah, except he was a civilian contractor with a concealed weapons permit, so he must have been a "responsible gun owner" long enough to obtain it. But that begs the questions: At which point did he become an "irresponsible gun owner"; how many other "responsible gun owners" have slipped over the edge, and; what should be done about their posession of their weapons once they're no longer "responsible gun owners"?

    September 17, 2013 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  16. nathan

    Guns dont kill people....People kill people end of story!

    September 17, 2013 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  17. RandyMarshCT

    The navy yard is completely gun free. According to this foolish logic, passing laws making this country the police state utopia that you liberals are looking for would do absolutely nothing. If you can't keep people safe in a military complex that doesn't even allow cell phones, let alone weapons, how do you propose you'll keep me and my children safe when we are disarmed? This is the worst example that could ever be used to show people shouldn't be allowed to legally own guns. If Feinstein hates guns so much, why does she have so much money invested in the largest weapons and defense companies in America?

    September 17, 2013 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  18. Malory Archer

    Gerb Hurler

    Obama and Biden have been licking their chops waiting for another shooting so they could capitalize on it. Today must be a happy day for them.


    More likely a "happy day" for the NRA who are already planning their little pro-gun rally at the site of the carnage – before the victims' bodies are even cold.

    September 17, 2013 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  19. Malory Archer


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


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

    September 17, 2013 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  20. crabapples12

    There is no debate, the 2nd amendment is going nowhere. You want American citizens to give up their rights while Obama openly commits treason and arms al queda? ummmmm, no.

    September 17, 2013 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  21. Peach

    Some of the strictest gun laws are in DC-so that doesn't work......

    September 17, 2013 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  22. jsmoulder

    The shooter passed a legal back ground check to purchase his shotgun. So much for gun control laws.

    September 17, 2013 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  23. Lynda/Minnesota

    "When will enough be enough?"

    Good question. Reading through the comments, apparently Americans killing each other by gun (either accidentally or purposely) isn't a top priority in America.

    It is, however, a top dollar donor priority.

    Just ask the NRA how well their "dialing for donors" list has increased since Sandy Hook.

    September 17, 2013 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  24. Name charles

    If people want to kill or do harm they are going to anyways. This is a tragedy. Hurting the law aboiding citizens is not the answer. Crimimals do not care about laws. They will do what they want when they want.

    September 17, 2013 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  25. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Dominican mama 4 Obama
    What political gun debate???!

    September 17, 2013 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
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