Decrying the Newtown, CT massacre and the large number of mass shootings in America in recent years, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) called on his congressional colleagues to pass a package of gun control laws he had co-sponsored.
How to help the victims of Friday's shooting
“As parents, we cannot imagine the deep pain that such a tragedy leaves in its wake," read a statement jointly released by the offices of Ellison and Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) on Monday. “Such tragedies cannot be ignored or accepted as the new norm."
Grijalva and Ellison co-chair the House of Representatives' Progressive Caucus.
Ellison and Grijalva urged their colleagues to pass a package of gun control legislation that includes a ban on high-capacity magazines and assault weapons, like those used by Newtown shooter Adam Lanza and Aurora, CO gunman James Holmes. The congressmen also called for expanded access to mental health services.
As MinnPost reports, Minnesota's public schools bear much of the burden of providing mental health services to the state's children and young adults, but are not very well resourced for the task.
In a Friday appearance on MSNBC's The Ed Show, Ellison also called for beefed-up background checks for gun owners, and for requiring background checks at gun shows. Currently, only federally-licensed gun stores are required to perform background checks on customers.
According to WIRED Magazine's Danger Room blog, bans on high-capacity magazines—any clip carrying more than 10 rounds—increase the chance that prospective shooting victims could find cover, or that the shooter could be subdued. Bystanders subdued Arizona gunman Jared Loughner and hit him with a chair while he reloaded his pistol.
However, the magazine points out that some efforts to expand background check systems to cover internet sales could be very difficult in practice.
More Support for Gun Control
St. Paul's Rep. Betty McCollum has also called for enhanced gun control in the wake of the Newtown slaying.
So far, most Republicans, including House Speaker John Boehner are staying silent on what's been a Democrat-lead call for more gun control. Perhaps significantly, though, several conservative, pro-gun Democrats have come forward since the Newtown shooting to declare their support for an assault weapons ban.
The Washington Post has put together a list of senators who might support a new package of gun regulations. According to CNN, many conservative Democrats are facing reelection in 2014, increasing the pressure to leave the gun control issue alone.
"I don't know anyone in the sporting or hunting arena that goes out with an assault rifle," Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said on MSNBC's Morning Joe show on Sunday. "I don’t know anyone that needs 30 rounds in a clip to go hunting. I mean, these are things that need to be talked about."
With the fiscal cliff looming, though, it is unlikely Congress will take up any legislation before the end of the year.
More links to Newtown Patch’s coverage here:
- Reaction: Sandy Hook School Shooting
- Police Raid Sandy Hook Home Hours After Shooting
- [PHOTOS] Newtown School Shooting