Entries in Gun Laws (3)


Bloomberg Blasts NRA: 'Connecticut Is Because of Some of Their Actions'

Michael Loccisano/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) -- New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg Thursday placed partial blame on the National Rifle Association for the Connecticut elementary school massacre in which 20 children and six adults were gunned down last week.

"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 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."

In the days after the massacre, the NRA has remained silent, only speaking up Wednesday to announce it would hold a press conference on Friday morning. But in the meantime, people with various stances on guns, from stark anti-gun advocates to Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., a pro-gun politician who famously shot a cap-and-trade bill with a rifle in a 2010 re-election ad, are clamoring for something to be done.

"I think the public has finally come to the conclusion that, what the Supreme Court said you can do is have reasonable restrictions on the right to bear arms, is something that our society finally has woken up and said, 'We are going to do this whether you like it or not,'" Bloomberg said.

In 2007, Bloomberg was one of 50 mayors who gathered in Washington, D.C., to demand that Congress eliminate a law that restricts the ability of local police to trace criminals' weapons. At the time, gun advocates claimed the law, which was an amendment attached to the House appropriations bill in 2003, infringed on their Second Amendment rights.

But if he had his preference, Bloomberg said he would go farther than the 1994 ban and outlaw all automatic and semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines. The mayor said magazines shouldn't be allowed to contain more than five or even three rounds.

"If you haven't hit the deer with three shots, you're a pretty lousy shot. The deer deserves to get away," he said.

Bloomberg said he doesn't absolve the public, including himself, for waiting until a massive tragedy to take national action on gun control.

"I hold you and me responsible," Bloomberg said, "We didn't pay attention to what our legislators were doing, [the NRA] as well... we have let our society degenerate -- our country degenerate to the point where we have a murder rate that you cannot compare it to other countries."

Police say Adam Lanza, 20, entered Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on the morning of Dec. 14, and used three firearms to kill 26 people before turning a gun on himself.

The weapons police recovered from the scene included a Bushmaster .223 semi-automatic rifle, a Glock 9-mm handgun and a Sig Sauer 9-mm handgun. A fourth weapon was found in the shooter's car in the school parking lot. All of the weapons were legal and registered to Lanza's mother, Nancy Lanza, police said.

According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, 47,856 people were murdered in the U.S. by firearms between 2006 and 2010.

President Obama announced Wednesday that Vice President Joe Biden, who was formerly the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a leader on the original Federal Assault Weapons Ban in the '90s, would lead a task force to formulate a package of gun control policy recommendations and collect proposals that will curb an "epidemic of gun violence."

While Bloomberg, who endorsed Obama for president, praised his decision to have Biden work on a plan, the mayor took Obama to task, saying in the last four years the president has "gone in the wrong direction" on guns.

"[President Obama] signed two pieces of legislation, one which lets you carry guns in national parks where our kids play," Bloomberg said. "And the other one, he signed a bill so that you can carry a gun on Amtrak. I assume that's to stop the rash of train robberies, which I thought stopped in the 1800s."

Several politicians have also vowed to introduce new gun control legislation when Congress starts a new session in January. But Bloomberg called Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer's proposal this week to make greater use of the National Guard to provide more safety in schools "ridiculous."

"You don't want your kids to think that everybody in America is a bad person and that we are locking ourselves down and that we live like we're in a prison," Bloomberg said. "Our National Guard has other things to do. Putting more guns in schools, I mean, the National Guard is not the answer to everything."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Police, Gun Control Advocates Push Washington for Action

David De Lossy/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Police and gun control advocates Thursday sounded a louder call for politicians to take a stand against gun violence -- despite Congress’ lack of political will to touch the issue, or the White House’s affirmation that President Obama had no plans to put new gun laws on the books.

“We have refused to accept silence from the candidates for the highest office in our land,” Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, told reporters Thursday at the National Press Club.

“The American people have shown overwhelmingly that they are ready to have a real conversation about how to prevent gun violence, and we are demanding the same from our elected representatives: Not to play politics but to lead.”

The nation’s largest anti-gun violence group, the Brady Campaign, was founded by President  Reagan’s press secretary, Jim Brady, who was confined to a wheelchair after he took a bullet to the head in the Reagan assassination attempt in 1981.

The group supports broadening the Brady Law, enacted in 1994, which requires federally licensed firearms dealers to run background checks on would-be buyers to weed out felons, drug addicts or others who might prove dangerous. But Thursday, the group put policy on hold and instead urged Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney to take the lead in discussing ways to end gun violence, whatever they might be.

“It is time for all of us to come together -- Republicans, Democrats, blue states, red states, people who own guns and people who don’t -- to have a meaningful national conversation about what we can do about it,” Gross said. “I think it’s shameful that our political leaders would play politics when there are lives that can be saved.”

More than 30 people die of gun-related violence every day in the U.S., according to the Brady Campaign. If that number holds steady, 48,000 Americans will be victims of gun violence during the next presidential term.

“We truly believe, as a nation, we are better than this,” Gross said.

Less than a week after a movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colo., left 12 dead and 58 injured, a national group of police associations also took to Washington, D.C., to drum up support for more gun control measures.

The National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence, a group of nine national police associations, Thursday echoed its demands for background checks on all firearms purchasers.

“America, we are not doing enough to keep guns out of the wrong hands,” said James Johnson, Baltimore county chief of police and incoming chairman of the partnership. “We are long past the point of saying ‘enough is enough.’ The mantra has grown old. It’s time to take action to keep firearms from dangerous people.”

The Brady Law applies only to federally licensed gun dealers -- which accounts for 60 percent of all U.S. firearm transactions, according to the partnership. People who buy assault-style guns or high-capacity ammunition online, or through a classified ad, for example, might not be subject to those background checks.

Aurora shooting suspect James Holmes did pass background checks to purchase his guns legally, partnership president Hubert Williams acknowledged. But broadening the law would help close a “gaping hole” that illegal buyers can still exploit, he said.

“We’re not asking for new laws. We’re asking for existing laws to be enforced on all people that are purchasing these weapons,” Williams said. “We’re just saying that the law has a loophole in it that needs to be plugged.”

Gross, of the Brady Campaign, said it’s important for politicians to talk about gun control -- but just paying lip service isn’t enough.

“A speech is not a plan. An endorsement of a measure is not a solution,” he said. “We want a plan with solutions.”

Second Amendment advocates point to data stating the vast majority of firearms used in crimes are not legally purchased, and, most notably, criminals don't follow gun laws of any kind.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ohio Bars Open Doors to Gun Owners

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -- The signs outside Shooters Bar and Grill in Galion, Ohio, are clear, albeit ironic: “No weapons allowed.”

Owner Vicki Bash says that won’t change as Ohio’s controversial new gun law takes effect Friday. It allows people licensed to carry concealed weapons to take them into taverns, hotels, restaurants and other places where liquor is served.  But those carrying guns are not allowed to drink.  And taverns, such as Shooters, can still keep weapons out as long as they post signs banning them.

“People aren’t supposed to drink and drive either,” Bash said. “But they do.”

She worries that bartenders have no way of knowing who is carrying a weapon so they must rely entirely on customers’ following the law. “I’m not against guns,” Bash said, but “alcohol creates stupidity.”

But other bars, including the Crazy Fox in Bucyrus, Ohio, don’t have a problem with concealed weapons as long as their owners don’t drink. The law passed despite objections from the Ohio Restaurant Association, which represents more than 5,000 mostly independent establishments.

“Alcohol and guns are typically not a good mix,” association spokesman Jarrad Clabaugh said.

Ohio is the latest state to allow gun owners to take their concealed weapons into bars. In Tennessee, which passed a similar law last year, Nikki Goeser has been a strong advocate, saying, “You know what, we need to be protected because the bad guys are going to carry their guns.”

In 2009, before Tennessee passed its new law, her husband, Ben, was shot and killed inside a Nashville tavern. “I had to leave my legal, permitted weapon locked in my vehicle that night,” she said. "And I’ll probably wonder for the rest of my life if I could have saved Ben.”

But many bartenders and waitresses are wary of the new law. "After a couple of drinks, they get their beer muscles and start swinging fists,” Nashville cocktail waitress Jessi Morrow said, adding that she fears guns add more danger to such volatile situations.

Waiter Chris Reeves isn’t comforted by the law’s prohibition against drinking by gun-toters. “Maybe he’s not drinking. But another guy has had several and has an attitude.” he said. “You could have multiple shots scattered in a matter of seconds.”

In Tennessee, Ray Friedman, who opposes guns in bars and restaurants, publishes a website listing which establishments ban them. “It’s tough for restaurants to be put in that position, but in fact they do have to make a choice,” he said.

But gun advocate Goeser said she is safer in a bar or restaurant, knowing her .38 Smith & Wesson Special is tucked into a hidden sleeve of her purse.  “Do I feel like I could stop someone from hurting innocent people?” she asked. “I think so.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio