Sen. Dianne Feinstein said she will reintroduce a ban on assault weapons to the Senate on the very first day the new House session on NBC's Meet the Press. Feinstein also said she wants and expects Barack Obama to lead on gun control from now on. "I can tell you that he is going to have a bill to lead on because as a first-day bill I'm going to introduce in the Senate and the same bill will be introduced in the House - a bill to ban assault weapons," Feinstein said. "It will ban the sale, the transfer, the importation and the possession. Not retroactively but prospectively. And it will ban the same for big clips, drums or strips of more than 10 bullets." There was a previous assault weapons ban from 1994 to 2004. There was some conversation about re-introducing the ban around the time of the Aurora shooting, too. "There will be a bill. We've been working on it now for a year," Feinstein said. "We've tried to take my bill from '94 to 2004 and perfect it. We believe we have. We exempt over 900 specific weapons that will not fall under the bill. But the purpose of this bill is to get just what Mayor Bloomberg said, weapons of war, off the streets of our cities." Feintstein told a story of how Vice President Joe Biden (then a Congressman) didn't think she could get the original ban through the House and the Senate at the time. "I told Joe Biden, who was chairman of the Judiciary Committee, that I was going to move this as an amendment on the crime bill, he laughed at me," Feinstein said. "He said, 'You're new here. Wait till you learn.' [...] We got it through the Senate. We got it through the House. The White House came alive, and the House of Representatives and the Clinton administration helped. The bill was passed and the president signed it. It can be done," she said.
Michael Bloomberg urged the President to put gun control on the top of his agenda for 2013 on Meet the Press. Gun control is an issue Bloomberg is normally very passionate about. "This should be his number one agenda. He's president of the United States," Bloomberg said. "If he does nothing during his second term, something like 48,000 Americans will be killed with illegal guns. That is roughly the number of Americans killed in the whole Vietnam War," Bloomberg said. Bloomberg said he didn't need stricter laws, per se, only to enforce the ones currently in place. "There's something like 77,000 - people who've been accused of lying when they applied for a gun permit. We've only prosecuted 77 of them," he said. But Bloomberg would still be happy if the President did introduce a new gun control law. "The president can introduce legislation - even if it doesn't get passed. The president campaigned back in 2008 on a bill that would prohibit assault weapons," the mayor went on. "We've got to really question whether military-style weapons with big magazines belong on the streets of America in this day and age."
Bloomberg also dismissed the belief that the NRA is an untouchable lobby. "One of the things I decided to do in this last election was to support some candidates that were running against those that had great records with the NRA. Where the NRA was putting their money into one side, I decided to put my money into the other side," Bloomberg said. "We won four out of seven. And we won with a small amount of money. There is this myth that the NRA is so powerful." He argued that the public is on the side of gun control reformers. "Today, the NRA's power is so vastly overrated. The public, when you do the polls, they want to stop this carnage. And if 20 kids isn't enough to convince 'em, I don't know what would be," Bloomberg said. And, as the election results showed, Bloomberg points out the NRA failed to dislodge the President from his office. "The NRA's number one objective this time was to defeat Barack Obama for a second term. Last time I checked the election results, he won and he won comfortably," Bloomberg said. "This myth that the NRA can destroy political careers is just not true."
The trials of the last few days were clearly wearing on Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy on CNN's State of the Union. "We are unfortunately a violent society," Malloy said. "32,000 plus deaths as a result of guns being used — 18,000 of those were self inflicted... This is a violent world. We hare a particularly violent country within that world." When the idea of adding more security to schools was proposed, Malloy didn't seem enthused at the prospect of putting more guns in schools. "Schools are not vaults, they are not banks -- people have to come and go," Malloy said. "You build the best system that you can can, understanding what the challenges are."
Sen. Chuck Schumer outlined his three-point plan for how Congress can toughen up on guns during an appearance on CBS' Face the Nation. Step one is supporting the assault weapons ban. "One is to ban assault weapons, try and reinstate the assault weapons bans," he said. "Second is to limit the size of clips to maybe no more than 10 bullets per clip, and third is to make it harder for mentally unstable people to get guns." Schumer blamed Congress' lack of gun reform on the bickering between parties that won't allow them to get anything done. "We’ve been gridlocked," he said. "We need a new paradigm … Both sides are in their corner and they can come to the middle"
Sen. Joe Lieberman called for a 9/11 style commission for mass shooting after a year that had a disturbing amount of them on Fox News Sunday. "We need a national commission on mass violence, not to be in place of anything else the president or Congress or state governments want to do, but to make sure that the heartbreak and anger that we feel now is not dissipated over time or lost in legislative gridlock," Lieberman said. Lieberman said there's no definitive solution for preventing a tragedy like Sandy Hook from happening. "There's no answer: I mean, this is evil," he said. "We’ve been through this before too many times: Columbine, Gabby Giffords, Aurora in the movie theater, Virginia Tech. ... the strongest conceivable gun control laws won't stop all acts of violence." But that doesn't mean he wants Congress to sit on its hands. "We ought to restore the assault weapons ban, not to take anybody's guns away that they have now but to stop the manufacturing of these weapons," he said. "We've got to continue to hear the screams of these children and see their blood until we do something to try and prevent this from happening again."
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin advocated for a national conversation on gun control because of the Newtown shooting on Fox News Sunday. "We need to sit down and have a quiet, calm reflection on the Second Amendment ... and are there guns that really shouldn't be sold all across America," Durbin said. "We need a national conversation. Joe Lieberman called for a commission -- I'm open to this, but we need a national commission on safety." Drubin advocated for guns like the one Adam Lanza used being banned from stores, along with high ammunition clips and body armor. "Are there high ammunition clips that really have no value whatsoever when it comes to sporting, hunting and even self defense? That a person can buy body armor and can take that armor and use it to protect themselves while they kill innocent people," he said. "Why in the world would anyone, even Nancy Lanza, need a military assault weapon, designed for the military, with the ability to fire off hundreds of rounds? I'm all for sport and hunting and self defense," Durbin said. "This goes way beyond that."
Rep. Louie Gohmert thinks allowing major weapons into places where they're currently banned, like schools, could prevent another massacre like Newtown, he said on Fox News Sunday. "Every mass killing of more than three people in recent history has been in a place where guns were prohibited," he said. "They choose this place, they know no one will be armed." Gohmert said Sandy Hook Principal Dawn Hochsprung could have survived if she had a gun of comparable size in her office when Lanza started shooting. "I wish to God she had had an M4 in her office locked up and so when she heard gunshots … she takes his head off before he can hurt those kids," he said. Gohmert agreed that the country needs to have a national conversation on gun control, but urged the conversation be "open minded" "Sen. [Dick] Durbin’s right, but the conversation we’ve got to have has got to have everybody open-minded," Gohmert said. "We all react emotionally, that’s why we’ve all shed tears and our prayers will continue to go to the people in Connecticut who’ve lost loved ones."
Two Connecticut Senators said they would advocate gun control on the Senate floor during their appearances on ABC's This Week. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Sen.-elect Chris Murphy promised to tackle the issue head on. "I'm hearing from the community as well as my colleagues in law enforcement: We need to do something," Blumenthal said. He previously served as a prosecutor and has close ties with law enforcement officials. "Out of respect for the families and their grief, I'm not going to be more specific about that conversation," Blumenthal said. "Certainly, this horrible episode and incident and crime by this derange person possessed by demons, as you have put it, will spur and transform, I think, the national conversation," he said. "I intend to talk about it on the floor of the United States Senate." Murphy said he would hit the ground running when the Senate sits next. "The time for sort of saying that we can't talk about the policy implications of tragedies like this is over," Murphy said. "We're going to be on the floor of the Senate very soon talking about where we go from here."
And we're including this because it should be on the record:
BTW, we reached out to ALL 31 pro-gun rights Sens in the new Congress to invite them to share their views on @meetthepress - NO takers.— Betsy Fischer Martin (@BetsyMTP) December 16, 2012
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.