Entries in Assault Weapons (5)


NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo Proposes 'Toughest Assault Weapon Ban in the Nation'

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(ALBANY, N.Y.) -- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo laid out a plan Wednesday to give his state some of the strictest gun control laws in the country.

In his annual State of the State address, Cuomo promised to "enact the toughest assault weapon ban in the nation, period," following the shooting deaths of 20 students and six adults at an elementary school in nearby Newtown, Conn., last month.

"I know that the issue of gun control is hard," Cuomo said during his address in Albany, N.Y. "I know it's political. I know it's controversial....I say to you: Forget the extremists. It's simple, no one hunts with an assault rifle. No one needs 10 bullets to kill a deer and too many innocent people have died already. End the madness, now!"

Cuomo's voice rose as he urged the passing of "safe, reasonable gun control," asking New York to "set an example for the rest of the nation."

He then laid out a seven-point plan, calling it "a gun policy in this state that is reasonable, that is balanced, that is measured."

"Gun violence has been on a rampage," he said. "In one word it is just enough."

He added that he is a gun owner himself, and his proposal "is not taking away people's guns."

In an address that was close to an hour and a half long, Cuomo called for requiring federal background checks of all gun sales, including private ones; the ban of high-capacity magazines; enacting tougher penalties for illegal gun use, guns on school grounds, and gun activity by gangs; keeping guns from people who are mentally ill; banning the direct Internet sale of ammunition; one state check on all firearms purchases; and programs to cut gun violence in high-crime neighborhoods.

Cuomo claimed New York once led the country in gun control when, in 1911, it passed "Sullivan's Law," which required a permit to possess a handgun.

New York has an existing assault weapons ban, but many high-powered rifles that have a capacity greater than 10 rounds don't come under the ban because it exempts magazines manufactured before 1994. If a magazine is not stamped then it can't be banned.

Cuomo's new legislation would ban large-capacity magazines regardless of the date of manufacture.

One of the points of his plan that may get the most attention, especially in the wake of the Newtown and Aurora, Colo., mass shootings, is keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. The Democratic governor's plan would ensure that when a mental health professional determines a gun owner is likely to hurt himself or others, the risk must be reported and the gun removed by law enforcement.

According to the New York Daily News, Democratic New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver told reporters in Albany before Cuomo's speech that an agreement on tougher legislation between lawmakers and the governor was close, adding he might keep Assembly members in Albany to complete a deal.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who attended the address, has also been outspoken on the issue of gun control since the Sandy Hook school shooting.

This week, his group, Mayors Against Gun Violence, released a new television commercial to push for action from the federal government. The ad featured Roxanna Green, the mother of Christina Taylor-Green, a 9-year-old killed two years ago this week in Tucson, Ariz., in the shooting that severely injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

In the ad Roxanna Green asked, "How many more children must die before Washington does something to end our gun violence problem?"

Bloomberg also released a statement after Cuomo's address saying he was "struck by his passionate leadership on gun violence."

"New York State has led the nation with strong, common-sense gun laws, and the governor's new proposals will build on that tradition," Bloomberg said. "They will help law enforcement keep guns out of the hands of criminals and other dangerous people and save lives. We strongly support his proposals to close loopholes and strengthen existing laws, and we look forward to working with him and the State Legislature to adopt them."

Cuomo's address came on the same day Vice President Biden began two days of meetings at the White House with victims of gun violence, gun safety advocate groups and gun rights groups, including the National Rifle Association, and gun sellers, including Walmart.

Biden told reporters before the meeting that they were at the White House "to deal with a problem that requires our immediate action, urgent action," adding that he and President Obama "are determined to take action."

"I want to make it clear that we are not going to get caught up in the notion, unless we can do everything, we're going to do nothing," Biden said.

Cuomo wasn't the only governor to speak out about gun control Wednesday. Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy also used his State of the State address to stress "more guns are not the answer," and to announce the formation of the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission made up of experts in mental health, education, law enforcement and first response.

"Freedom is not a handgun on the hip of every teacher, and security should not mean a guard posted outside every classroom," Malloy said, referring to the NRA's proposal to have armed guards outside of every school in the country.

"We also know that this conversation must take place nationally," Malloy said. "As long as weapons continue to travel up and down I-95, what is available for sale in Florida or Virginia can have devastating consequences here in Connecticut....Our focus will be first and foremost on protecting Connecticut's families."

Another Northeastern governor, Republican Chris Christie of New Jersey, did not touch the subject of gun control in his address Tuesday. When asked on ABC News' Good Morning America Wednesday why he didn't bring up the topic, he said, "Given what's happened to our state, the majority of the time should be talking about Sandy."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


NRA Chief Wayne LaPierre Calls Assault Weapons Ban 'Phony'

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre fired back at his critics Sunday, defending his proposal to put armed guards in every school in the country as a way to prevent future tragedies like the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., that took the lives of 20 children and six adults.

"If it's crazy to call for armed officers in our schools to protect our children, then call me crazy," the head of the powerful gun lobby said Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press.

LaPierre and the NRA came under harsh criticism this week for their response to the Connecticut school shooting.

After keeping silent for a week, except for a release announcing that the organization would make "meaningful contributions" to the search for answers to the problem of gun violence, LaPierre held what critics described as a "tone deaf" press conference on Friday in which he blamed the media, video games and Hollywood for the recent shootings, and suggested that the answer to gun violence was more guns.

Gun control advocates argue that a federal assault weapons ban is necessary to curbing gun violence.  Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who helped pass an assault weapons ban in 1996, is renewing efforts to pass similar legislation as the original ban expired in 2004.

"I think that is a phony piece of legislation and I do not believe it will pass for this reason: it's all built on lies," LaPierre said on Sunday.

LaPierre and many pro-gun advocates like him argue that assault weapons bans aren't effective and that violent criminals are solely to blame.

In Sunday's interview, LaPierre pointed out that the Columbine High School shooting occurred after the assault weapons ban passed, but he failed to mention that the shooters obtained the guns they used illegally though a gun show.  He also did not discuss the fact that there was an armed guard on duty at the school when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 13 people there before killing themselves.

Several senators watching LaPierre's interview had strong reactions.

"He says the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.  What about stopping the bad guy from getting the gun in the first place?" said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on NBC's Meet the Press.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who was also on the show, said that he's open to discussing increased school security but warned against a quick rush to ban assault weapons.

"I don't suggest we ban every movie with a gun in it and every video that's violent and I don't suggest that you take my right buy an AR-15 away from me because I don't think it will work," Graham said on NBC's Meet the Press.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said he didn't think having armed guards in schools was a good idea, though the Republican said he was "not commenting on the NRA proposal in particular."

"I am not someone who believes that having multiple, armed guards, in every school, is something that will enhance the learning environment, and that is our first responsibility inside a school, is the learning environment, you don't want to make this an armed camp for kids, I don't think that is a positive example for children," he said.  "We should be able to figure out some other ways to enhance safety."

President Obama announced last week that he was creating a task force headed by Vice President Joe Biden to offer workable policy solutions to the problem of gun violence by the end of January.

The president will likely face an uphill battle, as any proposed legislation will have to make its way through the House of Representatives, which is currently controlled by Republicans.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Senators Call NRA Statement a 'Sad and Shameful' Response to Sandy Hook Shootings

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Democratic Senators called the NRA’s statement Friday a “sad and shameful” response to the shootings which killed 20 children at Sandy Hook elementary one week ago.
“The NRA statement today is sadly and shamefully inadequate, calling for more guns and rejecting real action against gun violence,” Connecticut Senators Richard Blumenthal said Friday at a press conference on Capitol Hill. “At a defining historic moment for our nation demanding courageous leadership, the NRA has declined to step forward as a credible and constructive partner.”
Blumenthal said that the NRA’s proposal for more armed guards in school may seem like a good idea but he added the devil is in the details.
“They're contemplating volunteers, watchdog dads, which I think is problematic itself, raising concerns about safety, expertise, effectiveness. So I think the American people are looking for real solutions, serious, comprehensive proposals rather than what we heard today.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., noted that many schools already have armed guards which has not prevented many shootings, including, she noted, Columbine in 1999.
“There were two armed law enforcement officers who twice engaged the shooters at Columbine, that didn't prevent 15 from being killed and 23 wounded,” Feinstein said. “The NRA's blanket call to arm our schools is really nothing more than a distraction. It's a delay tactic. It's a distraction from the availability of military-style assault weapons on our streets, in our schools, used at malls, used at workplaces, used in movie theaters.”
Feinstein received a call from President Clinton Thursday. The former president pledged his help to Sen. Feinstein as she proceeds to try to reinstate the assault weapons ban.
“To have him part of the team again is really quite, quite special for us,” Feinstein said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Calls for Renewal of Assault Weapons Ban

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(HEMPSTEAD, N.Y.) -- President Obama Tuesday night said he’s interested in seeing an assault weapons ban reintroduced, breaking his silence on the legislation, which has persisted in spite of at least five mass shootings during his term.

At the end of a long answer to the question, “What has your administration done or planned to do to limit the availability of assault weapons?” Obama said this:

“My belief is that, (A), we have to enforce the laws we’ve already got, make sure that we’re keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, those who are mentally ill.  We’ve done a much better job in terms of background checks, but we’ve got more to do when it comes to enforcement.  But I also share your belief that weapons that were designed for soldiers in war theaters don’t belong on our streets.  And so what I’m trying to do is to get a broader conversation about how do we reduce the violence generally.  Part of it is seeing if we can get an assault weapons ban reintroduced.  But part of it is also looking at other sources of the violence.  Because frankly, in my home town of Chicago, there’s an awful lot of violence and they’re not using AK-47s.  They’re using cheap hand guns.”

As a candidate in 2008, Obama campaigned for permanent reinstatement of the expired assault weapons ban, and Attorney General Eric Holder in 2009 indicated that the administration would lobby for a bill.  But that never materialized and the White House has largely avoided talking about it.

In August, after the Sikh Temple shooting in Wisconsin, Jay Carney said, “He does support renewing the assault weapons ban.”

But Tuesday night is the first time during Obama's first term that the sentiment has come from his mouth.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Former Pa. Gov. Rendell: "Everyone is Scared of the NRA"

Jin Lee/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesNEW YORK) -- Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell decried federal lawmakers for failing to pass a permanent ban on assault weapons, such as the one used in Friday’s deadly Colorado movie theater shooting.

Rendell said it was an “act of cowardice by the Congress” not to renew the ban, which expired in 2004, and blamed lawmakers for being too “terrified” of the National Rifle Association, which has lobbied against the ban, to actually do it.

“We’re terrified of the NRA. We Democrats are as bad as the Republicans. Everyone is scared of the NRA,” Rendell said Friday on MSNBC. “There are some things worth losing for in politics, and to be able to prevent carnage like this is worth losing for.”

Rendell said there is “no reason” for people to have assault weapons.

“No hunter needs it, no citizen needs it to protect their home,” he said. "Citizens are allowed to have firearms, shotguns, no assault weapons."

The former governor also called on Congress to ban high-capacity gun clips like the one Jared Loughner used to kill six people and wound Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Ariz., last year. Rendell said Friday that a ban on high-capacity magazines, which can hold twice as many bullets as regular gun clips, would have saved people from “serious bodily injury” in the Tucson shooting.

“We need leadership, and we need someone to stand up and say enough is enough,” Rendell said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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