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. Clint

    I see they are still confusing "assault rifle" with "assault weapon". There is a very large difference. An AR-15 is not an "assault rifle". Never was, never will be.

    September 16, 2013 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  2. Flappy

    If there was a "right to drive cars" amendment some people would argue that babies should have the right to drive tanks.

    September 16, 2013 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  3. James Jameson

    Let's not forget that DC already banned assault weapons, high capacity magazines, concealed carry, and has gun registration, yet this still happened.

    September 16, 2013 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  4. me_and_me

    Gun debate starting again?
    No it isn't. There is no debate. My property belongs to me. period. No one has any right to vote or legislate away what i can and can not have, or do with my property, so long as i am peaceful.

    Probably 10% of the USA is anti-gun. look at the internet: there are no arguments against guns that aren't based in irrational fears, and emotional ploys.

    September 16, 2013 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  5. J Clark

    How could this have happened in a place with such strict gun laws?

    September 16, 2013 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  6. helicohunter

    I have no problem with guns per se. Hunting, target practice, and self defense are all legitimate uses that should not be infringed upon. I do have a problem with anything that can spray bullets. I'll call these machine guns, although I know there are a variety of more specific terms. A machine gun can mow down many unsuspecting people before anyone has a chance to react. Crazy people would still go on rampages, but the death tolls would be lower. This guy probably would have killed only 3 or 4 before being shot, and Adam Lanza wouldn't have been able to shoot a whole classroom full of kids multiple times each.

    September 16, 2013 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  7. Wisdom

    Funny how the gun debate is already started again before the day is even over. We know our government is trying to take our guns, so they can exterminate us. This has nothing to do about keeping us safe especially when Homeland Security; Federal and State agencies are buying hundreds of thousands of guns and ammo, and buying weapons of war to use domestically. These shootings are organized MK Ultra Monarch Program. Research the dates the shooting and killings happen. Dates like 9, 11, 13, 19 and certain times of the year when sacrifices need to be made to the prince of this world. Nothing you people see is what it really is. I beg you open your eyes, and put your trust in Jesus, because you all are about to see hell on earth trust me. Dear Lord Jesus open the eyes of those that are blind, so they may be able to see the terror that is done by those that are suppose to represent us.

    September 16, 2013 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  8. bs1

    Just like the abortion rights debate, the gun rights debate is long over and the majority have made it clear that both abortion rights and gun rights have 75%+ support. It is only the sore loosers who lack the maturity to recognize they have lost and stop whining and claiming the debate isn't over.

    September 16, 2013 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  9. P. O. Carl

    The news that I watched said he entered with a shotgun. And that the other weapons were taken from security people. How can a person enter a Military complex with any weapons?

    September 16, 2013 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  10. JCS


    In a week no one will care again. Sadly, for all of us in the USA this is now normal. Jesus loves guns and so should you.

    September 16, 2013 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  11. upchuckliberals

    Ok, so the guy 'stormed' the Navy Yard, uh huh, I'm guessing he drove in with a pass. He hit a nice soft target, one that the Left has disarmed. DiFi is already trying to blame this on some guy getting firearms and how if they were illegal for mere mortals to have things would be so much better. Of course she can still have hers. Now how about if licensed CCW owners were to have been carrying in that building, do you thing it's just a slight possibility that the outcome would be a bit different. Say less dead people or maybe, just maybe the guy wouldn't have done it. EVERY 'mass' shooting has been in soft target areas. Eventually the Left has to begin to get a glimmer that they're flat out wrong pushing the erasing of the 2nd Amendment. That will never happen, the Leftists NEVER admit when they're wrong which as far as I can tell is 99% of the time.

    September 16, 2013 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Syria uses chemical weapons to kill their own people. We use the second amendment. The result is the same.

    September 16, 2013 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  13. marilyn

    These terrible tragedies will continue as long as we refuse to have strict gun laws, I hope all the idiots that refuse to cooperate and attempt to make a change have their guns drawn because if you are not safe in a class room or navy base you aren't safe anywhere.

    September 16, 2013 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  14. SkyKing169

    And the other countries in the world laugh at the US, and poke fun at the US.
    Way to go, NRA.

    September 16, 2013 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  15. M. R. Warzecha

    No responses?

    My solution is – arm everyone at a military base with a basic sidearm.
    Some wacko decides to shoot someone, 6 bystanders shoot him after one shot.

    One shot sure beats 12 dead.

    September 16, 2013 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  16. John Cram

    As every NRA member will say "now is not the time to be talking about gun control"... gezzz and just when I thought enough time had passed since the last mass ki11ing spree.

    September 16, 2013 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  17. Eral Coil

    We need to teach people how to responsibly own/care for pistols and other weapons and get rid of "gun free zones" so that criminals with criminal intent cannot scope out these places and put harm to people, and at the same time will also let the people who abide by gun laws to reasonably have the chance to defend themselves and others when the need arises.

    September 16, 2013 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  18. Ron

    This shooting had nothing to do with civilian firearms ownership. It was on a military base with military weapons = end of story.

    September 16, 2013 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  19. Marc O

    Ok, so according to the media, the suspect who has a troubled past and probably can't legally own a gun, takes a shotgun to the Navy yards and then takes the pistols and possible AR that he used from the guards/law enforcement people he shot at the scene. D.C. has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, and the Navy yards are, like all but one mass shooting in the last couple of decades, a gun-free zone. On top of all that, the yards has significant security measures. The suggestion that additional gun laws could somehow have helped this situation is just stupid.

    September 16, 2013 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  20. Mike

    This shooting was a criminal act. But Feinstein and her partners in crime think more laws are the answer to the problem.

    Why can ALL people not see the severe flaw in that thinking? It is nothing short of lunacy.

    September 16, 2013 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  21. Philip Rogers

    The windbags didn't even wait for the bodies to reach room temperature before they scrambled atop them to start spewing their nonsense.
    No one knows how he obtained the guns or got them into a secure area, but one fact is clear. In a gun free building, in a gun free military installation, in a gun free City, 12 victims cowered unarmed, unable to defend themselves against a madman, and gun free they died.

    The shooter walked unopposed, murdering at his pleasure, while the victims died waiting for the police to save them.

    Nothing against the police, they were quick and efficient , ONCE THEY ARRIVED.

    September 16, 2013 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  22. Richard Wad

    It only starts anew when CNN says so.

    September 16, 2013 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  23. asfdffff

    actually nobody cares

    September 16, 2013 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  24. Taxpaying Voter

    The Libs didn't even wait for the bodies to get cold before exploiting this criminal act to gain a political advantage.

    September 16, 2013 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  25. Reverend

    Same rhetoric, whether it works or not. I swear those that constantly call for gun control are "flat earthers", even though statistics, CDC reports, Havard studies, etc, etc. show it solves NONE of the shootings! NONE!

    You want to stop shootings? Stop watering down your punishments, let free citizens defend themselves, and stop using political agendas when people do the right thing.

    September 16, 2013 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
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