Entries in Gun Control (18)


Gov. Malloy: ‘Wayne [LaPierre] Reminds Me of the Clowns at the Circus’

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(HARTFORD, Conn.) – After signing a bill earlier this week that gives Connecticut some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, Gov. Dan Malloy spoke with CNN’s Candy Crowley on Sunday and told her that NRA President Wayne LaPierre reminds him of “the clowns at the circus.”

LaPierre has been openly critical of Connecticut’s new bills. “Wayne reminds me of the clowns the clowns at the circus – they get the most attention and that's what he's paid to do,” Malloy said.

 “But the reality is that the gun that was used to kill 26 people December 14th was legally purchased in the state of Connecticut, even though we had an assault weapons ban,” he continued, illustrating why he sees the need for stricter laws.

"Ninety-two percent of the American people want universal background checks,” Malloy continued. “I can't get on a plane as the Governor of the state of Connecticut without somebody running a background check on me, why should you be able to buy a gun?”

The laws ban the sale of magazines over ten rounds. Responding to questions about the necessity of registering preexisting magazines over ten rounds with the state, Malloy said that it was to make sure they could tell if magazines were being brought in from other states.

“We need to be able tell the difference between the ones that preexisted and those that are being purchased someplace else. Hence, the requirement for registration,” he said.

“If you bring a magazine that you purchased in another state to our state, it's illegal,” Malloy said.


Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Conn. Task Force on Gun Violence Hears from Newtown Parents

DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images(NEWTOWN, Conn.) -- Connecticut’s legislature's task force on gun violence prevention and children's safety met in Newtown Wednesday, the site of the December shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that left 20 first-graders and six adults dead.

Parents of the murdered children appeared at the hearing to express their desire for strong action to avoid another occurrence of “an unstable, suicidal individual” having access to military-style assault weapons.

The reference was to 20-year-old Adam Lanza, who first killed his mother at home before going on a shooting spree at the school and then taking his own life.  Lanza had been diagnosed with mental issues throughout his life.

Neil Heslin, who lost his 6-year-old son Jesse Lewis on Dec. 14, was direct in what he expected from the task force, calling for “a ban on assault rifles and military-style guns.”

Nicole Hockley's 6-year-old son Dylan was also one of the youngsters killed in the attack.  She told the gathering, “I'm not here to remind you of our sorrow.  I'm not here to proselytize about legislation.  You are our elected officials and it is your duty to create and enforce the laws that protect and help us.”

Meanwhile, a father of a Newtown pre-schooler told lawmakers, “The basic constitutional right to bear arms is a right that should not be impaired merely because others may precipitate violence.  Further restrictions on and bans merely protect the robber, and give them to the advantage over the robbed.”

Wednesday was the task force's final hearing.  Last Monday in Hartford, many of the participants stood in opposition to weakening what they believe are Second Amendment Rights while the Newtown summit focused more on gun control.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


NYPD Commissioner Promotes More Gun Control

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- New York City's top cop says he's favors universal background checks, a key element of President Obama's wide-ranging proposal to curb gun violence in America.

Appearing on CBS' Face the Nation Sunday, New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly says closing loopholes that allow criminal elements to acquire firearms is an important step in stopping violent crime.

As for New York, Kelly argues it's not assault weapons that are as prevalent as handguns, which he says are responsible for 60 percent of homicides in the city.

The commissioner also defended the proposed use of a kind of body-scanning device that would allow cops to check if someone is carrying a gun without patting them down.  Kelly acknowledged 4th Amendment concerns by civil liberties groups who oppose such an effort.

Meanwhile, Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, another guest on Face the Nation, complained that an assault weapons ban would not protect children, contending that the administration should be more concerned with the root causes of violence that include mental health issues.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Newtown Victims' Families Join Gun-Control Activists on DC March

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Near-freezing temperatures didn't stop several thousand gun-control activists from bearing their pickets on Saturday. Carrying signs emblazoned with "Ban Assault Weapons Now" and the names of gun violence victims, the demonstration was organized as a response to the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn. last month.

Walking in silence, the demonstrators trudged between Capitol Hill and the Washington Monument over a thin layer of melting snow. They were joined by politicians and some families of the Newtown victims.

March organizer Shannon Watts said the event was for the "families who lost the lights of their lives in Newtown, daughters and sons, wives and mothers, grandchildren, sisters and brothers gone in an unfathomable instant."

"Let's stand together and use our voices, use our votes to let legislators know that we won't stand down until they enact common sense gun control laws that will keep our children out of the line of fire," she told demonstrators.

Watts founded One Million Moms for Gun Control after the killing of 20 first graders and six adults at the Connecticut elementary school in December. In a profile with The New York Times Ms. Watts said her 12 year-old-son had suffered panic attacks after learning of last summer's Aurora, Colo. theater shooting, leaving her at an impasse over how to talk to him about the latest tragedy.

Also among the speakers was a survivor of the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre, Collin Goddard.

"We need to challenge any politician who thinks it's easier to ask an elementary school teacher to stand up to a gunman with an AR-15 than it is to ask them to stand up to a gun lobbyist with a checkbook," he said.

The demonstration comes amid a push by progressive lawmakers to enact stricter gun control measures as a response to the trend of recent mass killings, although any hypothetical bill would likely face strong opposition in Congress.

Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) was among the demonstrators on Saturday.

"The idea that people need high-capacity magazines that can fire 30, 50, 100 rounds has no place in a civilized society," he said, adding "Between the time we're gathered here right now and this time of day tomorrow, across America, 282 Americans will have been shot."

The congressman was quoting statistics compiled by the Brady Campaign to Stop Gun Violence.

Last week President Obama proposed a sweeping overhaul of federal measures regulating gun ownership, including a universal background check system for sales, banning assault weapons,  and curbing the amount of ammunition available in weapon clips.

An ABC News/Washington Post poll released Thursday found 53 percent of Americans viewed Obama’s gun control plan favorably, 41 percent unfavorably. The divisive subject was visible on Saturday, as a handful of gun-rights advocates also turned out on the National Mall to protest what they believe would be infringements on their Second Amendment liberties.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


NRA's LaPierre Fires Away at Obama and His Inaugural Address

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images(RENO, Nev.) -- In a scathing attack on President Obama, the executive vice president of the National Rifle Association told a gathering of hunters in Nevada Tuesday night that the administration is determined to either tax their firearms or take them away.

Wayne LaPierre, who has previously denounced the president's plan to curb gun violence in the U.S., claimed that remarks made in Obama’s inaugural address suggested that principles trumped the absolutism of Second Amendment rights.

LaPierre said that was a direct assault on the rights of the NRA and its members.

According to the NRA official, “When absolutes are abandoned for principles, the U.S. Constitution becomes a blank slate for anyone’s graffiti.”

LaPierre also spoke out against a possible federal registry to collect the names of gun owners, saying the real intent of the government was “Either to tax them, or to take them.”

Alleging that the president is only interested in protecting himself and his wealthy allies, LaPierre said that Obama believes "the only principled way to make children safe is to make lawful citizens less safe and violent criminals more safe."

He added that criminals will also benefit from expanded gun control measures.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


One Month After Newtown Shooting, Parents Work to Bolster Dialogue

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- One month after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, parents gathered in Newtown, Conn., to publicly pay tribute to their slain children and to support the founders of the non-profit Sandy Hook Promise, who outlined discussion points for a national dialogue on guns and violence.

Speaking at a press conference at Newtown, Conn., Monday morning, Tom Bittman, co-founder of Sandy Hook Promise, outlined three discussion points that the organization hopes will bolster a national discussion and affect change in communities: gun responsibility, mental health and making public spaces safer.

"We have a responsibility to make something happen," Bittman said. "We want Newtown to be remembered for change. We refuse to be remembered only for our loss. We want the shooting to be remembered as a turning point."

Bittman emphasized that some of the members of Sandy Hook Promise are gun owners, but that they believe in responsibility and accountability. He also said that though new laws can be passed by Congress in the wake of the shooting, which left 20 children and six adults dead on Dec. 14, 2012, the organization is looking to individuals to look for solutions for what they can do in their communities.

"We don't have all of the answers, but we do know some of the questions," he said. "If we search for new strategies, we might find solutions we couldn't have dreamed of a decade ago."

The group is asking people across the country to sign the Sandy Hook Promise, which asks participants "do everything I can to encourage and support common sense solutions that make my community and our country safer from similar acts of violence."

Sandy Hook Promise was formed in the days following the December 14 shooting under the original name Newtown United.

Nicole Hockley, whose son Dylan Hockley was killed in the shooting, spoke frankly about the loss of her son and the moments that she forgets he is gone.

"It's a sad honor to be here today," she said. "At times it feels like only yesterday, and at others it feels like many years have passed," she said. "I still find myself reaching for Dylan's hand as I walk through a parking lot. I expect him to crawl into bed beside me for early morning cuddles before school … it's so hard to believe he's gone."

David Wheeler, whose son Ben died at Sandy Hook Elementary, pointedly asked parents to question how far they'd to ensure their children's safety.

"I would respectfully request that every parent in this country … pause and think and ask yourself, what is it worth doing to keep your children safe?" he said. "What is it worth to you? What is it worth doing?"

Appearing on ABC’s Good Morning America Monday, Jimmy Greene and Nelba Marquez-Greene, who also spoke at Monday’s press conference, spoke of their grief for their little girl, Ana Marquez-Greene, and honored her memory.

"She was kind, she was loving, she was smart -- and she was also a fashionista -- she loved those gaudy flowers. I'm wearing it for her today," Nelba Marquez-Greene said, referring to her flower headwear. "We're hoping that through Sandy Hook Promise, we can bring awareness to issues, and start a conversation based on love and respect."

Ana caught the nation's attention in a video where she sang "Come Thou Almighty King" while her 9-year-old brother Isaiah played the piano. Marquez-Greene said that she wants her work now to be a tribute to her little girl.

"[She was] passionate, she was abut loving God and loving people, and I hope that that can be the legacy that we leave," she said. "That love wins, and that love will prevail in this."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Gabrielle Giffords, Mark Kelly Launch Initiative to Curb Gun Violence

ABC/Ida Astute(NEW YORK) -- After she was gravely wounded by gunfire two years ago in Tucson, Ariz., former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, imagined a life out of the public eye, where she would continue therapy surrounded by the friends, family and the Arizona desert she loves so much.

But after the slaughter of 20 first-graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last month, Giffords and Kelly knew they couldn't stay silent.

"Enough," Giffords said.

The couple marked the second anniversary of the Tucson shooting by sitting down with ABC's Diane Sawyer to discuss their recent visit to Newtown and their new initiative to curb gun violence, "Americans for Responsible Solutions."

"After the shooting in Tucson, there was talk about addressing some of these issues, [and] again after [a movie theater massacre in] Aurora," Colo., Kelly said.  "I'm hopeful that this time is different, and I think it is.  Twenty first-graders' being murdered in their classrooms is a very personal thing for everybody."

During their trip to Newtown, Giffords and Kelly met with families directly affected by the tragedy.

"[The] first couple that we spoke to, the dad took out his cellphone and showed us a picture of his daughter and I just about lost it, just by looking at the picture," Kelly said.  "It was just very tough and it brought back a lot of memories about what that was like for us some two years ago."

"Strength," Giffords said she told the families in Newtown.

"Gabby often told them, 'You got to have strength.  You got to fight for something,'" Kelly said.

The innocent faces of the children whose lives were abruptly taken reminded the couple, they said, of 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green, the youngest victim to die in the Tucson shooting at a Giffords constituent event.

"I think we all need to try to do something about [gun violence]," Kelly said.  "It's obvious to everybody we have a problem.  And problems can be solved."

Giffords, 42, and Kelly, 48, are both gun owners and supporters of the 2nd Amendment, but Kelly had strong words for the National Rifle Association after the group suggested the only way to stop gun violence is to have a "good guy with a gun."

There was a good guy with a gun, Kelly said, on Jan. 8, 2011, when Jared Loughner shot Giffords and 18 other people -- six fatally -- at her "Congress on Your Corner" event.

"[A man came out] of the store next door and nearly shot the man who took down Jared Loughner," Kelly said.  "The one who eventually wrestled [Loughner] to the ground was almost killed himself by a good guy with a gun, so I don't really buy that argument."

Instead, Giffords and Kelly are proposing "common sense" changes through "Americans for Responsible Solutions."

The first change the couple hopes to enact is to require a comprehensive background check for the private sale of firearms.

"I bought a gun at Walmart recently and I went through a background check.  It's not a difficult thing to do," Kelly said.  "Why can't we just do that and make it more difficult for criminals and the mentally ill to get guns?"

The debate over high-capacity magazines and assault weapons has been renewed after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.

Kelly, a veteran of Desert Storm and a gun owner, said he doesn't believe an extended magazine is necessary for the sport.

"An extended magazine is used to kill people," he said, "lots of people."

Loughner used a magazine that had 33 rounds in Tucson, while accused Aurora shooter James Holmes had a 100-round magazine.  Adam Lanza, the Newtown shooter, used numerous 30-round magazines to load his Bushmaster AR-15.

Finally, Kelly hopes to address the issue of how the mentally ill are treated in the United States.  Loughner, who was deemed incompetent to stand trial, pleaded guilty to 19 counts in August.

"Jared Loughner was clearly mentally ill," Kelly said.

"Sad," Giffords added.

Kelly said, "We have to learn how to identify these people and get them treatment.  And we don't do a very good job at that."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


NRA to 'Offer Meaningful Contributions' to Prevent More Gun Violence

NRA/ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- For the past week, leadership at the National Rifle Association has largely stayed away from the media.  But on Friday morning, the group may weigh in on how to keep a deadly shooting massacre like the one last week at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school from happening again.

The NRA will hold a news conference in Washington, D.C., just before 11 a.m.

Its leadership has held off on interviews this week after refusing to appear on Sunday morning public affairs shows this past weekend.

The group came under pressure after Adam Lanza, 20, killed 20 children and six adults before shooting himself at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown last Friday.

"Out of respect for the families, and as a matter of common decency, we have given time for mourning, prayer and a full investigation of the facts before commenting," the group said in a press release Tuesday.  "The NRA is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again."

NRA News anchor Ginny Simone said on Thursday that in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, membership surged "with an average of 8,000 new members a day."

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said the NRA is partially to blame for the tragedy.

"We're not trying to take away your right to advance the interests of gun owners, hunters, people who want to protect themselves," Bloomberg told ABC's Nightline anchor Cynthia McFadden in an interview Thursday.  "But that's not an absolute right to encourage behavior which causes things like Connecticut.  In fact, Connecticut is because of some of their actions."

The guns used in the attack were legally purchased and owned by the shooter's mother, Nancy Lanza, who Adam Lanza shot to death before his assault on the school.

In the aftermath of the shooting, many, including Bloomberg, have called for stricter regulations on the types of weapons used in this and other instances of mass gun violence this year.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has said she intends to introduce a bill banning assault weapons on the first day of next year's Congress -- a step the president said he supports.

President Obama announced on Wednesday that Vice President Joe Biden will head a task force of leaders from across the country that will evaluate the best solutions to reduce gun violence in the United States.

Obama said he will "use all the powers of this office to help advance efforts aimed at preventing more tragedies like this."

Mayors Against Illegal Guns, of which Mayor Bloomberg is a co-chair, released a letter to Obama signed by more than 750 mayors calling on him to produce a plan to "make it harder for dangerous people to possess guns."

The letter asked for mandatory background checks for gun buyers, a ban on high-capacity rifles and ammunition magazines, and a designation of gun trafficking as a federal crime.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


NRA Silent Following School Shooting and Calls for Stricter Gun Laws

David De Lossy/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Groups and lawmakers in favor of stricter gun laws haven't wasted any time speaking out following the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., but the pro-gun National Rifle Association has been silent.

The NRA, which frequently communicates through social media, hasn't tweeted since before the shooting and its Facebook page has been taken down, a day after the group boasted of reaching 1.7 million "likes.".

On Thursday, a tweet went out from the NRA's official account saying: "@NRA "Did you hear? Our #facebook page reached 1.7 million "likes" today! Thanks for being a friend!"

The NRA couldn't be reached for comment regarding whether the deactivation of its facebook page was connected to Friday's mass shooting.

The debate over the nation's gun laws took center stage on Sunday, when California Sen. Dianne Feinstein said she intends to introduce an assault weapons ban on the first day of the next Congress.

Adam Lanza used a Bushmaster .223 semi-automatic rifle at close range to kill children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last Friday.

Two handguns were also found at the scene, but law enforcement officials described the Bushmaster as Lanza's primary weapon.  A fourth weapon was found nearby.  The weapons discovered at the school apparently belonged to a family member, possibly his mother, according to authorities.

The NRA was a trending topic on Twitter Sunday with thousands showing their support and distaste for the gun lobbying organization, which plays a significant role in American politics.  That role was denied by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in his appearance Sunday on NBC's Meet The Press.

"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."

A number of the Sunday news talk shows including, ABC's This Week, invited an NRA representative on to their shows to discuss gun control. But the programs received a statement from the NRA declining to comment because details of the investigation into the shooting were still pending.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Bob Costas: US Needs ‘More Comprehensive, More Sensible Gun Control’ Laws

Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Sportscaster Bob Costas says some people “misunderstood” his comments about Kansas City Chiefs Jovan Belcher’s murder-suicide during Sunday Night Football this weekend, but he maintains his stance that gun laws need to change.

Speaking on The Last Word in his first television interview since the comments, Costas told MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell he was talking about a “gun culture” that he believes is a problem in the United States during the halftime show Sunday.

“I never mentioned the Second Amendment. I never used the words ‘gun control.’ People inferred that,” Costas said. “Now do I believe we need more comprehensive and more sensible gun control legislation? Yes, I do. That doesn’t mean repeal the Second Amendment. That doesn’t mean a prohibition on somebody having a gun to protect their home and their family.”

But even with reformed gun laws, Costas said “you would still have the problem of what Jason Whitlock wrote about and what I agree with, and that is a gun culture in this country.”

The NBC sportscaster fielded criticism earlier this week for comments he made about the Belcher murder.

“If Jovan Belcher didn’t possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today,” Costas said Sunday, quoting from an article condemning gun ownership.

NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre said “there is no excuse” for those kind of remarks after a tragedy.

“Here you have an inexcusable crime, you have a murder, and you have a national broadcaster basically using the opportunity to preach his social agenda during the national sporting event,” LaPierre told ABC News Monday. “The day we stop calling murderers ‘murderers,’ the country’s in trouble.”

Costas addressed criticism along that vein Tuesday.

“No one is saying that Belcher is not responsible,” Costas said. “Could he have strangled her? Could he have stabbed her? Of course he could have. But the easy availability of guns makes this sort of thing just far more likely to occur.”

Costas explained that he meant to offer “a bit of perspective” during the 90-second lecture, and that his “mistake” was in trying to capture a complicated subject in a short amount of time.

“What I was trying to say was that if you want some perspective on this there are a number of issues related to this that we could begin to talk about and think about the problem was that I didn’t have enough time to get to many of them,” Costas said. “I’ve always said if you’re going to get into touchy topics, nuanced topics make sure that you have enough time to flesh them out.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio