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. Mark

    When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Feinstein is a one note symphony. A symphony that mounting research shows is out of tune.

    September 17, 2013 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
  2. sgreco

    Here come republicans to defend the murderer! ...again!

    September 17, 2013 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  3. Sandra

    Perhaps when they get through the senate doors... THEN something will change. Or into an NRA meeting.

    September 17, 2013 02:14 am at 2:14 am |
  4. Netspirit

    The attacker took his pistol and AR-15 from the guard he had killed with a basic shotgun. Does Feinstein suggest that guards should be disarmed, or is she simply using the tragedy to push her anti-gun agenda?

    September 17, 2013 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  5. hostile

    No, the gun control debate is renewing because that's what you liberals at CNN want

    September 17, 2013 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  6. Scott

    Diane "Knee-jerk" Feinstein is already following the Raum Emanual textbook "never let a crisis go to waste" to pass repressive legislation. No body knows the facts here. The fact 2 of these mass shootings happened on military installations by either military personnel or their contractor(s). So, any legislation is moot. It would not have prevented either. But never let that little fact stop a Liberal from imposing legislation on law abiding civilians.

    September 17, 2013 02:21 am at 2:21 am |
  7. 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.

    September 17, 2013 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  8. Martha

    "When will enough be enough?" Please donate money to Mark Kelly's & Gabby Gifford's "Americans for Responsible Solutions" so reasonable citizens can take on the gun lobby. The gun lobby doesn't represent the majority of voters. It doesn't represent gun owners either. It just represents the manufacturers & dealers. The gun lobby has bought and/or intimidated our elected officials. Common sense tells you you don't need an assault weapon for protection or hunting. Where has common sense gone? A blind person can shoot a gun in Iowa & a domestic abuser like Zimmerman can have a concealed weapon/ gun in Florida. I am not anti guns. We own guns. I am anti stupidity. I am anti the passivity that allows us to do nothing to curb gun violence. Donate to Americans for Responsible Solutions.

    September 17, 2013 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  9. Rex

    Why is it that when there is a shooting, we blame the gun being used? At the Boston Marathon bombing, did we blame the bombs, or the bomber? When someone recklessly drives through a crowd of people as happened not that long ago in California, did we blame the car or did we blame the driver?

    September 17, 2013 02:29 am at 2:29 am |
  10. dan

    yah it does,, like lets stop disarming innocent citizens!!!!!!

    September 17, 2013 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  11. John

    stop raising the issue CNN

    September 17, 2013 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  12. FreeThinker

    Funny they're back on this after another shooting happened in another gun-free zone. "When will enough be enough?" The answer is never. Criminals, by definition, don't obey laws, today's shooting is a perfect example. Had there been law abiding citizens who were legally allowed to carry their firearms there would surely be less casualties. The second amendment is there so a person can defend themselves against anyone threatening their life.

    September 17, 2013 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
  13. American

    "This is the seventh shooting since 2009, and these repeated incidents demand our attention."

    What planet is this guy on? This was like 7th outrageous shooting incident in the last 24 hours. Thousands of people have died since 2009 and thousands more will die. And there is nothing we can do about it either, so the best course is to just shut up and accept it as our way of life. The NRA isn't going anywhere.

    September 17, 2013 02:33 am at 2:33 am |
  14. Jake

    Multiple news organizations have reported for 12 hours that the AR15 & Glock were taken from officers who responded to the shooting, the only gun the shooter brought was a long gun, confirmed by witnesses who's interview CNN has been playing all day. So CNN wants law enforcement banned from having AR15s to avoid lunatics stealing them?

    September 17, 2013 02:45 am at 2:45 am |
  15. Mark

    Gee I wonder why. Oh, maybe because we don't need more guns? Or, if we paid our police a little more, then we wouldn't need guns. But then we'd be socialists!

    September 17, 2013 02:52 am at 2:52 am |
  16. Matthew

    Isn't it obvious that more people should carry guns to help thwart attacks like this. Soldiers should also be allowed to carry their personal guns on post. How is it we don't trust our soldiers to carry their own guns when we send them to war? We also should do a better job of enforcing the existing laws. It is shameful that people use tragic crimes like this one to further their political agenda that doesn't work! Explain how changing gun laws would have changed this crime in any way!

    September 17, 2013 02:58 am at 2:58 am |
  17. Mikey

    So... Gun Lobby... all it takes to stop a bad man with a gun is a good guy with a good. A military installation probably has quite a lot of good guys with guns – but that didn't work so well did it?

    September 17, 2013 03:01 am at 3:01 am |
  18. sincedutch

    the only people "reigniting" the "gun debate" are the same people who started the gun false freakout to begin with.

    September 17, 2013 03:07 am at 3:07 am |
  19. looselycoupled

    "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"

    Never let a tragedy go to waste... What does the tool used to commit a crime have to do with anything? The fact that it was an AR15 instead of two handguns? NO DIFFERENCE... The answer to mass shootings is to fix the mental health care system. If they didn't have guns, they'd resort to pipe bombs, etc...

    September 17, 2013 03:12 am at 3:12 am |
  20. looselycoupled

    What does the specific weapon have to do with this tragedy?? Only political hacks with an anti-gun agenda would call out the specific model as an "AR-15" as if it is a sinister, magical weapon that allows crazies to kill vastly more people than two 9MM handguns with a dozen magazines (Like the Virginia Tech shooter which is the greatest loss of life in a mass shooting EVER.. He had two simple handguns and a few dozen 10-round magazines). The GUN is not the problem, we need to focus on mental healthcare for all these people who descend into madness...

    September 17, 2013 03:14 am at 3:14 am |
  21. JP

    More like the MEDIA rekindles the gun debate.

    September 17, 2013 03:18 am at 3:18 am |
  22. dadguy

    This shooting and the Fort Hood shooting were of the is severity due to a ban, passed by President Clinton, on the carry of fire arms on military installations. There were dozens of people in both instances that could have stopped both attacks within seconds. They were unarmed. The threats to expand bans on firearms are hollow. The public is well enough educated at this point to see the differences between criminal users and the majority lawful peaceful users of firearms.

    September 17, 2013 03:28 am at 3:28 am |
  23. Red Sky

    These same people who want to paint gun owners as being unreasonably defensive instead of supportive of those who have suffered loss are the ones to immediately jump into political posturing as if genuinely pleased that such an event has occurred.

    Feinstein has admitted herself that she has "looked at pictures" to determine what firearms should be banned – almost entirely based on how many black things are sticking out of them instead of based on any real functionality. These are the same people who say "we only want to restrict certain models" and that "confiscation is never the goal" while at other times claiming openly that "if [we] had the votes...turn 'em all in" (Feinstein).

    Those of us who actually understand firearms well enough to know what does and does not work are labelled extremists, "nuts," or even terrorists because it is easier to push their agenda by fighting to marginalize others than to argue valid and quantifiable points. I don't care what side of the isle you fall on – surely most can see that these are the dirtiest and lowest of tactics combined with some of the most absurd reasoning ever seen in politics. It needs to stop.

    September 17, 2013 03:29 am at 3:29 am |
  24. 2A4ME

    feinstein's transparent and clumsy attempt to seize this tragedy for her political agenda is pathetic. when will enough be enough of feinstein? this guy was armed with a 12 gauge. he took other weapons from a security officer he murdered and stole the rifle from the navy yard. that fascist will not be pleased until the american people are left with sticks and rocks while she strolls around strapped like a gangster.

    September 17, 2013 03:31 am at 3:31 am |
  25. Mel Stricker

    Blah, Blah, Blah – we bring up the same thing about gun control. There are a few articles. Many people yell and scream how we need gun control and, in the end nothing happens.

    There is no one in Washington willing to do anything about gun control so why waste time writing and talking about it.

    Just say, "A number of people dies at the hands of someone with a gun that he probably bought 'legally' and isn't that too bad now lets go on to more important things like celebrity gossip."

    September 17, 2013 03:32 am at 3:32 am |
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