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.

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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. Bob

    Rockefeller says it's the seventh shooting...what a bonehead. Chicago has seven shootings on a good weekend. When will ppl learn it isn't the gun that causes the chaos, it's the basket case holding it. We need to stop handling criminals with kid gloves. Get rid of whimpy liberal judges and lock up forever every criminal and start killing THEM, then you'll see crime rates drop.

    September 16, 2013 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  2. Shiv

    Republican politicians are senseless people. If we can stop the killing of the innocent people by gun control why don't you agree on it. What is wrong with gun control, drug control, control on abuse of authority. Are you guys dumb? If the access to gun is controlled then the gun crime will be controlled. The more you control, the more life you save form gun crime. It is directly proportional. Is business above humanity? You are like Syrian government.

    September 16, 2013 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  3. Matthew Fisher

    This is not a debate on gun control. This is a debate on crazy. If someone wants something bad enough to go through these extreme measures, they will find a way to do it. What if he had knives or box cutters, would we be debating about knife control? Let's keep the politics out of where it is not needed.

    September 16, 2013 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  4. Clarity

    Seems like these shootings are just an opportunity for folks to all pat themselves on the back on how great their investigations are. Its too late once people are dead! What is the use of prayer, commiserations and investigation after the damage is done. I t will only get worse. I only pray gun violence does not affect my loved ones.

    September 16, 2013 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  5. Prepare prepare prepare

    The happening is upon us brothers and sisters. Brace for the statists to attempt to disarm us nationally. The happening is happening.

    September 16, 2013 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  6. Pat N

    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? There is so much conflicting information regarding this situation, everybody, especially those calling for gun control, just take a breath.

    September 16, 2013 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  7. Eric

    Why choose only semi-automatic rifles to get enraged about and not handguns? These rifle shootings are far less common. I don't see Obama making a press conference calling for change every time a southside Chicago youth gets gunned down.

    September 16, 2013 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  8. Thomas

    We need to teach gun safety in primary school , cut Art , PE and school lunches .

    Also , thank President Reagan for making insurance companies a higher priority then mental health .

    Insurance executives who play golf make 50.000 a year more then those who don't , and are less likely to be involved in a mass shooting .

    September 16, 2013 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  9. SpgfldTom

    Whew! Just in time to get Obama's Syrian debacle off the front page!!! Now authorities are saying the shooter got the AR15 and a pistol from an arms locker on the base and that he only arrived there with a double barrelled shotgun (no doubt a Joe Biden endorsed model). Maybe Feinstein in right....that our military personnel (active, inactive/reserves and veterans) shouldn't have access to "assault weapons". How does a "civilian contractor" get on a secure (gun free zone) military base with a shotgun?

    September 16, 2013 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  10. jt

    Well I guess if you want a AR15 better get it now because in a few days it will be impossible to get. You know Pierc Morgan already on his anti gun British better that USA kick. So tired of CNN letting him trash our right to bear arms. No more CNN news or TV shows for me. Hate it since I decided no more MSNBC or NBC news few months ago so now no where else to get news.

    September 16, 2013 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  11. Michael Benjamin

    Long live the NRA!

    September 16, 2013 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  12. loops808

    First off, gun legislation has to start in the Democratically controlled Senate. Last round, the media was basically hands off as to not tto put Democrats on the spot. I dont see t hat changing. Until the media starts calling Reid and other Democrats by name and asking tough questions, there will be no new gun legilsation. Besides, I dont think there is any courage in the Democratically controlled Senate after the recalls in Colorado. Cowards.

    September 16, 2013 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  13. lewtwo

    we should ban senators name Feinstein.

    September 16, 2013 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  14. Ashley

    It's nice to see the NRA will not comment on stories until all the facts are known, while Fetherstein immediately calls for banning military weapons found on a military base when their part in the shooting has not yet been confirmed.

    September 16, 2013 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  15. Common Sense

    This shooting happened inside D.C., one of the biggest gun control cities in the entire country. Not only that, it occurred on a military installation, essentially a "gun free zone" inside of a "gun free zone." Despite all the cries for more gun control, it is obvious from events like these or the daily shooting in a gun control city like Chicago, that gun control DOES NOT WORK. Look at the facts and try to prove me wrong. You can't. The places with the most gun control laws have the most murder and mayhem.

    September 16, 2013 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  16. Rick

    The bigger question and one that should be screamed repeatedly is why weren't these people allowed to defend themselves?? Gun-free zones should be banned, they are more like the old west on television than the real west...where guns are allowed!

    September 16, 2013 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  17. Bill

    And the Democrats will lose the debate. Again.

    September 16, 2013 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  18. rodbuilder321

    Ok Diane Feinstein go ahead and tell us what would have happened and how many people wold have died if everyone near that Navy yard would have been packing a .357 magnum.

    Let's hear it – explain your way out of that!!!!

    September 16, 2013 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  19. ptw

    There's no point to any "debate". if people can't get up in arms enough to care for even just universal backgrund checks after a classroom full of 5 and 6 year olds are slaughtered, then they never will.

    September 16, 2013 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  20. rodbuilder321

    Go ahead Diane Feinstein, tell us how m,any people would have died if everyone on that Navy yard was packing a .375 magnum because I'll guarantee you it wouldn't have been 12.. .

    September 16, 2013 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  21. flazG

    You just KNOW that BHO, "Double Barrel" Joe, Feinstein, etc., etc., were digging their respective "responses" to this (any such) incident out of their sock drawers even before the smoke had cleared.

    September 16, 2013 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  22. Sig_Adams

    According to every other news source out there the gunman was only armed with a double barrled shotgun.

    It used the shotgun to kill guards and take their pistol and rifle.

    September 16, 2013 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  23. Canukman

    Just to give you a little different perspective than what you will likely receive here, I am a Canadian who has lived more than 65 years in 4 different cities in Canada, all in working class neighbourhoods, and I have never seen a person armed with a weapon, except police officers or military members. Canadians know that guns serve no useful purpose in peace time so we simply don't own them. In fact, I am not certain where I could buy one in my current city of about 400,000 people except possibly in one sporting goods store that mainly sells

    September 16, 2013 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  24. Stang05

    Purchased a shotgun..passed the backround check!!!!!!!!!! A shotgun like Biden told everyone to get for home defense. AR-15 and pistol were military weapons that he got on base!!!! How did a contractor gain access to weapons? How did he get a secret clearance and purchase a weapon with 2 arrests for illegally discharging a weapon? He passed the check and the clearance because the charges were dropped. Why have laws if they are not enforced? But go ahead, blame the guns, not the failed sysyem. If the system/people had done their jobs this nut wouldn't have gotten a clearance, secured on-base weapons or been able to buy a shotgun. Shows that no matter what the laws prohibit, a determined individual can find a way around it.

    September 16, 2013 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  25. Dman

    How is it that gun manufacturers only seem to improve the killing abilites of weapon but never their safety? The last great safety invention...yes you guessed it ...the "safety switch" hasn't been touched in 100+ years. Yet just the other day the latest attachment was announced the "butt stock" which turns a semi-automatic into a near full automatic weapon thereby imrpoving your mass killing effectiveness. Why are gun manufacturers not held accountable for producing a product that allows a three year old to shoot himself? With all the advancement in technology where are our "smart guns". Sue the gun manufacturers over product saftely and maybe they would acknowledge some moral responsibilty to improve their product.

    September 16, 2013 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
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