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. kb

    I say they need to use these incidents to focus on treating mental health problems in the US, not gun control. In countries like china where access to firearms has always been difficult/restricted, they still have mass killings by crazy people, even at schools, just like we do, but they use knifes, swords, and even poisoning, and their attacks are just as deadly, if not more deadly than ours, yes one guy took out an entire kindergarten class, and a competing preschool owner poisoned her rival schools kids. If the american people really want to restrict guns, they need to repeal the 2nd amendment, otherwise drop it. Focus on the real issue.

    September 17, 2013 03:54 am at 3:54 am |
  2. Alvinjh

    No. It doesn't CNN. That is always the wish of the same people who think one crazed action defines the issues. It doesn't.

    September 17, 2013 04:02 am at 4:02 am |
  3. Howard

    A trigger-happy culture leads to trigger-happy tragedies.

    September 17, 2013 04:04 am at 4:04 am |
  4. Tracy

    What debate? Conservatives won't be concerned until a member of Duck Dynasty gets gunned down.

    September 17, 2013 04:06 am at 4:06 am |
  5. John

    Another false flag effort to take away guns. If the millitary can't defend itself on a navy base against an AR-15 then guns aren't the problem. The democrats are engineering these incidents to try to take away the second amendment. Sandy Hook failed so now they are pulling it on a millitary base where no civilians can investigate.

    September 17, 2013 04:09 am at 4:09 am |
  6. PoliticalJeanyus

    That didn't take long.

    September 17, 2013 04:38 am at 4:38 am |
  7. Tracy

    Im all for gun debate as long as we don't change any laws!

    September 17, 2013 04:44 am at 4:44 am |
  8. J.V.Hodgson

    I think I quote accurately from the NRA and gun lobby.
    " the only answer to bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."
    First sensible unemotional question:-
    When did the second amendment define a "good guy" or a "bad guy"
    More to the point in a one on one gun situation how on earth can in most cases one decide who is instantly the "good guy" or "bad guy" stop with the guys breaking into your home... clearly bad guys... and yeah shoot 'em no questions asked. But that does not make concealed carry needed or desirable.
    Enough, our founding fathers or second amendment supporters had no idea of todays military hand guns shotguns or especially rifles capabilities and especially the latter with automatic or semi automatic firing capability.

    September 17, 2013 04:51 am at 4:51 am |
  9. joe

    There is no Gun debate!! This is a great example why citizens need to stay armed!!! To protect them selves from criminals!!

    September 17, 2013 04:52 am at 4:52 am |
  10. No

    These massacres happen in "GUN FREE" zones. Because the Government has taken away the ability to protect yourself.

    September 17, 2013 04:57 am at 4:57 am |
  11. Harleigh Kiffer

    Looks like there will probably be a call to ban weapons from military posts.

    September 17, 2013 05:26 am at 5:26 am |
  12. Sane Person

    Yea, cause its been 5 minutes since the last mass shooting.

    September 17, 2013 05:27 am at 5:27 am |
  13. ????????

    When will enough be enough? Congress must stop shirking its responsibility and start a thoughtful debate on limiting free speech. We must do more to stop the senseless and moronic comments in this country.

    On a serious note, the shooter in this case showed signs of aggression and no one did anything. He discharged his weapon in anger before and nothing was done. Don't be surprised that when the govt trains someone to kill and they snap one day and use that training to kill.

    Let's not forget that in DC it is a felony offense for a non-resident to possess a firearm. You can't even possess a spent shell in the city limits. Any resident of the city must register their weapons and a carry permit is basically impossible to obtain. This was basically one of those gun free zones that the criminal ignored. He ignored every law that was intended to "protect" the citizens and reduce violence. This just goes to show that those laws limiting Everyone's right to a firearm don't matter. It's time we give our citizens their rights back in these gun free zones and see what happens.

    September 17, 2013 05:33 am at 5:33 am |
  14. bdby

    It didn’t take long before senator Feinstein threw her two cents in. I suppose now this AR-15 is also too scary to own??

    September 17, 2013 06:09 am at 6:09 am |
  15. DUH

    Again..another mass shooting in a city with the strictest gun laws. Again another person with mental issues doing the crime.

    September 17, 2013 06:12 am at 6:12 am |
  16. Marie MD

    Note to Eleanor Holmes, thank you for a moment of silence in congress and I know that you mean well and you are for gun control but . . . . . this shooter was arrested in 2004 for shooting out the tires of a man's car in a moment of blind rage meaning there's a paper trail that this individual should have NEVER been allowed buy gun.
    We need to thank congress (NOT) for voting against background checks because maybe, just maybe, this murderer wouldn't have been able to purchase a gun in Virginia like a child buying candy. VA is for gun lovers!!
    As far as those you say like that slobbering fool lapierre that it takes a good man with a gun to take down (or whatever) a bad man with a gun? This guy came in with a semi automatic rifle and the shotgun and gun were taken from two armed officers. There goes your rabid/lunatic excuse for everyone having a gun.
    Twelve lives lost to one lone gunman. Can you imagine if everyone had had a gun? The death toll would have been double or triple that.

    September 17, 2013 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
  17. Gudge

    Americans love of guns make you look like Neanderthals and you are too arrogant to see this.

    September 17, 2013 06:40 am at 6:40 am |
  18. sno512

    In the days of Leave it to Beaver, Ozzie and Harriet, and I Love Lucy, America didn't have problems with mass killings even though gun control in the modern sense was virtually nonexistent. Mass killings never became a major problem until the 1970s, when they began to become more and more common. Maybe instead of calling for new laws we should be asking how and why our cultural values have deteriorated so shockingly from where they were in Grandma and Grandpa's day.

    September 17, 2013 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  19. PaulG

    Feinstein, the face of tyranny, will not be getting our firearms.

    September 17, 2013 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  20. Free Man in the Republic of Texas

    Trust YOUR LIFE to government.

    Leave the rest of us alone
    to protect our self.

    September 17, 2013 07:01 am at 7:01 am |
  21. kirk

    What would it take? I'm not sure there could be any tragedy that would prompt new legislation

    September 17, 2013 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  22. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    In this naval facility, which is vital to our military power around the world, there should have been enough heavily armed and highly trained guards to quickly kill Aaron Alexis when he began shooting.

    September 17, 2013 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  23. Jay from VA

    Actually, while there is currently no official word on where the firearms were acquired from, NBC Washington is reporting that the shooter acquired the shotgun legally (depending on the model, most shotguns are not covered under an "Assault Weapons" ban), and took the pistol and AR-15 from police officers that he shot. Also, he purchased the shotgun from a Federal Firearms Licensee, which means he went through a background check and passed. His two previous arrests (with no charges filed) and his General Discharge are not disqualifying – only convictions and dishonorable discharges are. Lastly, he committed this atrocity in a federal gun-free zone (see 18 USC 930 – all military bases and federal facilities are gun free zones). I challenge someone to tell me with a straight face that gun free zones and an assault weapons ban would have prevented this tragedy.

    September 17, 2013 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  24. bassman

    If Republicans had done what the Democrats are now doing the headline would have been "Republicans Politicize 12 deaths"

    September 17, 2013 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  25. Dawn

    Sad that this tragedy happened. I thought that D.C. was the safest place in the U.S. because it has the strictest gun laws? So maybe gun laws have absolutely no effect whatsoever on criminals.

    September 17, 2013 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
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