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. cwiz

    Your responsibilities do not include stripping American citizens of their rights. Your responsibilities are to do the bidding of the American people; a task you've repeatedly failed for decades.

    September 17, 2013 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  2. jake

    sounds like a navy problem... dosnt make sense to regulate civilian guns because of a shooting with a federal weapon.

    September 17, 2013 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  3. Rebecca

    Once again, CNN ignores the fact that Americans want their 2nd Amendment rights no matter how many times it attempts to reignite that conversation.

    September 17, 2013 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  4. Anonymous

    "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 murdered in Newtown, Connecticut last December. " is it your policy to ignore the other 6 people that died during that Sandy Hook tragedy? how about those other 6 adult staff members of that school? it is a shame that you would not mention them, did their lives not mean anything?

    September 17, 2013 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  5. yogi

    "When will enough be enough? This was two years ago, one year ago, this year, and it will go on, and on, and on, and on, until we get rid of guns, period. The endless discussions that go on and on are equally silly, they result every time in no solution. This country is infested with guns, and they are a reflection of absence of civilization.

    September 17, 2013 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  6. FidyCents

    Gun Free zone huh? It clearly proves that deranged individuals pay no attention to this law, while normal law-abiding citizens will. Yes Madam Senator when is enough finally enough.

    September 17, 2013 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  7. Mike

    Those gun free zones are working wonderfully, aren't they.

    September 17, 2013 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  8. J.C.

    America is insane. Period.

    September 17, 2013 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  9. mountainlady

    The answer to Senator Feinstein is that enough will never be enough as long as Congress quakes in fear of the NRA. When politicians have enough courage to do the right thing rather than cow down before the NRA bullies we might get somewhere but human lives do not matter to the gun lobby.

    September 17, 2013 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  10. mike

    Why was that fool allowed access to the yard? It's not responsible gun owners fault that he slipped through the cracks. Praying for the lives affected. Never give up on GOD.

    September 17, 2013 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  11. Tom

    This guy wanted to storm a military facility to kill people. He was clearly insane and their is no law or ban that can protect you from someone that determined to kill.

    Remember that the Virginia Tech Massacre was done with pistols and as far as I am concerned so was Newtown. Banning a particular type of semi-automatic rifle will do nothing and has done nothing to curb murder in this country.

    September 17, 2013 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  12. Henry

    I wonder if Sen. Feinstein would feel better if the shooter had taken a couple of barbecue propane tanks into the place and set them off with detonators. Would people be any less dead?

    We don't have a means of killing problem in the world. We have a mental health problem. Sane people, no matter their access to lethal technology, don't use it. Lunatics will find a way to murder. They've been doing it for thousands of years.

    September 17, 2013 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  13. Norman

    This story is evolving but before the spin doctors got involved some of the truth slipped out. The shooter had a valid ID to work at the site. He had recently purchased a shot gun from a store in Virginia. He used that shot gun to kill the security guard. He then took the 9mm from the security guard along with extra ammo. The police arrived with their AR15s. The shooter quickly shot one officer and took that AR15. These are the weapons he used to gun down so many people. There is no way to stop people from buying shot guns as so many are used for hunting and sport shooting. Making new laws against hand guns and assualt rifles is not supported by this evil deed.

    September 17, 2013 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  14. Glenn Limbaugh

    I don't think any ban will come about as a result of YET another shooting, but I sure would like to get the NRA's hooks out of the Republican party. This is just a glorified gun manufacturer lobby with free reign to push guns as the answer to gun problems.

    September 17, 2013 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  15. Eric

    Yup, here we go. People are so stupid. Guns do not kill people, people like this kill people with guns, knives, bats, cars, or whatever they can get their hands on...

    September 17, 2013 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  16. ThinkAgain

    Without universal background checks, you can't tell the good guys from the bad guys. It's that simple.

    September 17, 2013 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  17. jrs1972

    The gun debate ended when obama decided to start arming the syrians with full auto assault rifles and high capacity baby killer magazines.

    September 17, 2013 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  18. Anthony in California

    1. Bought the gun legally.
    2. Kills 12 on an armed Naval Base with AR.
    3. Had no signs of mental illness.

    Okay.. what counter-point will the NRA create this time to defend their gun culture violence?
    Will they double down on the reasons above?

    (Find your answers above and below this comment)

    September 17, 2013 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  19. Billy

    Speaking of cowardly, using tragedy and acts of bad people to promote your agenda is cowardly. AR-15's are banned in DC and it did not stop a thing. Stop blaming guns for the acts of bad people.

    September 17, 2013 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  20. Noel Tetreault

    It is being reported in some news outlets that he used a shotgun initially, but then obtained an AR-15 from a guard he took out. So, for the AR-15 at least, gun control would not have worked, even though to me it is mind boggling to think a guard with an AR-15 may have been taken out by a shotgun, if that is what happened. It is sad that people will use this tragedy to advance their political agendas (I'm talking about you Feinstein).

    September 17, 2013 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  21. AGG

    Please tell me how and why our military personnel are still unable to arm themselves after the Fort Hood Massacre. Please tell me how a contractor could smuggle an AR-15 Rifle and a Shotgun into a military base after the Fort Hood Massacre. Please tell me how a man who committed two prior offenses with a firearm was allowed to work as a military contractor. The signs were there and those in charge of protecting us chose to ignore them. Individuals like Alexis will get their hands on handguns and long guns no matter how many laws are passed.

    September 17, 2013 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  22. rabidmob

    You can be a gun owner and a potential victim, of you can just be a potential victim. It's a cold world and these gun grabbers are naive to think anything else.

    There is always going to be people who want to hurt other people and they will find ways.

    September 17, 2013 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  23. Aries

    At this rate, we don't really need enemies or go to wars! We are a gun loving, violent culture. And there's something really, really sickening with people who just don't get that mere presence of guns increases deaths- murders, suicides, accidents. Either they don't get it or money trumps all.

    September 17, 2013 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  24. RJ

    CNN is not reporting the facts.
    The gunman entered the building armed only with a shotgun.
    He obtained the Glock and the AR from police officers he shot when he entered the building.
    Even liberal gun hating NBC is reporting this fact.

    September 17, 2013 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  25. History

    Come on guys...he needed those guns to protect his family! Because the Founding Fathers had assault weapons in mind when they wrote the 2nd Amendment.

    September 17, 2013 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
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