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Entries in Aurora (7)

Monday
Jul302012

Antonin Scalia Hints Second Amendment Not Absolute

Paul Morigi/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Is private possession of hand-held rocket launchers protected by the Second Amendment?

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said Sunday that it might be up to him and the eight other judges to decide just how far "the right to bear arms" goes.

Asked to comment about the Aurora, Colo., movie shooting and accused gunman James Holmes legally purchasing an assault rifle and high-capacity magazine, Scalia, a strict constitutionalist by his own admission,  said it remains to be seen whether there "are some limitations that can be imposed."

In 2008, Scalia was the lead author of a ruling that invalidated a ban on handgun ownership in Washington, D.C., saying it violated the basic tenets of the Second Amendment.  He mentioned that it does not apply to "arms that cannot be hand-carried," such as cannons.

But are hand-held rocket launchers, which are just as powerful as cannons, in that category? Scalia said it will probably fall to the court to determine what limitations should be applied to modern weapons.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul242012

House Observes Moment of Silence for Colorado Victims

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- The House of Representatives observed a somber moment of silence today to honor the 12 killed and 58 wounded in last Friday’s shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter, the Colorado Democrat who represents the part of Aurora where the tragedy struck, led the House with remarks on behalf of Colorado’s entire House delegation.

“I stand here with a lot of sadness with my friends from the Colorado delegation. We’re a pretty tight-knit group,” Perlmutter began, surrounded in the well of the House chamber by Colorado Democrats and Republicans. “We had a terrible incident in Aurora, Colorado on Friday. You all are well aware of it. Twelve people were killed, 58 were wounded and it with sadness and grief that we come before you today.”

Perlmutter said that while Coloradoans remember the victims of the shooting, there is “silver lining in this very, very dark moment in the history of Colorado” characterized by the “bravery, and selflessness and heroism among the people that were in that theatre that night.”

“Anyone of us can tell you stories of how people to complete strangers were willing to give up their own lives to save the life of the stranger next to them. In times when it is difficult like that you want to find bright spots, and there were many,” he said. “Another bright spot was the courage demonstrated by the Aurora police and the fire department and the FBI and the ATF in the face of what was a monstrous action by this guy.”

James Holmes, 24, is suspected of bursting into a movie theater and engaging in a shooting spree shortly after the opening night showing of The Dark Knight Rises began. Holmes was quickly arrested behind the theatre without incident.

“In Colorado, we consider ourselves to be pretty tough. Aurorans where this act took place are pretty tough,” he continued. “It hurts. We all hurt, but we’re resilient and we will get through it and the stories that some of those who are injured are sharing actually really do lighten the day.”

Perlmutter thanked his colleagues in the House for a “tremendous outpouring of sympathy and condolences and compassion” before observing 21 seconds of silence in the House chamber.

“I ask that all of you stand with me and our delegation in a moment of silence to honor the memory of those that were killed, the wounded victims and all Americans during this time of healing,” Perlmutter declared. “We will remember these people who were hurt and we will help them all along the way.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul242012

Stronger Gun Laws? Schumer Points to Lack of Political Will

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Chuck Schumer was one of the biggest cheerleaders for the assault weapons ban back when it passed the House. The New Yorker helped usher it through Congress and in part built his senate campaign on passing the Brady Bill.

But Tuesday, in the wake of the Aurora, Colo., massacre, Schumer suggested there is no political will for new gun laws or re-instating the assault weapons ban, which lapsed in 2004. Under the ban it would have been illegal for James Holmes to purchase the deadliest of the weapons he used - the AR-15 assault rifle.

Schumer blamed the NRA and the Republicans who control the House of Representatives for blocking any legislation. But Schumer held a press conference today on tax measures, not gun laws, and he made clear that he thinks the political mandate for gun laws needs to come from the people before politicians will change anything.

"I am still an advocate of the assault weapons ban. I was the author of it in the House," he said, adding that it could potentially have kept the AR-15 away from Holmes. "But we see what's in the House and we see the power of the NRA around here and it's something we ask, the way to overcome it is for citizens, the silent majority, who believe in the right to bear arms, the majority of Americans including myself."

"I believe in the right to bear arms. I think the 2nd amendment has validity. I thought the Heller decision was appropriate. But there can be reasonable limitations on those rights to bear arms. We limit the 1st amendment, you can't falsely scream fire in a crowded theater, or anti-pornography laws. The 2nd amendment can have reasonable limits as well," he said.

House Speaker John Boehner, meanwhile, resisted calls Tuesday from other congressional Democrats to tighten gun control laws in the wake of the shooting in Aurora last week, couching his lack of enthusiasm for new legislation to President Obama's decision not to push for new laws either.

"We had a shooting by a deranged person in Colorado and our hearts and souls go out to the victims and those who were killed and those who were injured, and their families," Boehner said. "The president has made clear that he's not going to use this horrific event to push for new gun laws. I agree."

Pressed whether there is anything the government should do to make it harder for someone to purchase such large amounts of ammunition, the speaker stuck to his script.

"Listen, the White House had made clear they're not going to use this horrific event to push for new legislation," he repeated. "I agree with them."

Over the weekend, White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One that President Obama believes the government should protect the Second Amendment while also ensuring that weapons do not fall "into the hands of individuals who should not, by existing law, obtain those weapons."

"The president's view is that we can take steps to keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them under existing law," Carney said Sunday. "And that's his focus right now."

James Holmes, 24, is suspected of killing 12 people and wounding another 58 in Friday morning's shooting at opening night of the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises. With no significant police record, law enforcement sources say he acquired all four of his guns, body armor and thousands of rounds of ammunition legally.

House Democrats including Reps. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and Carolyn McCarthy of New York, both long-time gun control advocates, point to the shooting in Colorado and other mass shootings as proof that the country's gun laws are insufficient.

Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, the No. 3 Republican in the House, said that Congress "should get all the facts" before moving any new legislation "because you want to make sure it is done right."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul232012

Rep. Blumenauer Accuses NRA of Political Bullying on Gun Laws

US House of Representatives(WASHINGTON) -- As the flags over the U.S. Capitol continue to fly at half-staff in honor of the victims of the shooting in Aurora, Colo., last week, one Democratic congressman says there is a renewed opportunity “to deal with an epidemic of gun violence” in the United States.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., took to the House floor Monday afternoon to speak out for stronger gun control, blaming the National Rifle Association for poisoning the political dialogue around the controversial issue and “creating phony threats to gun ownership.”

“What is as appalling as the loss of life, is the fact that we not only refuse to do anything about it, but we allow political bullies to intimidate us from even researching the facts,” Blumenauer blasted. “Anytime there is a mass-killing spree, I hope against hope, for a more enlightened reaction.”

Blumenauer targeted the NRA for making it “impossible” to close the gun show loophole, where he said people can purchase “unlimited amounts of guns without a reasonable background check.” He also criticized the gun lobby for helping people on the no-fly list purchase guns while also preventing national security data from being shared between two government agencies.

“The NRA argues that all we need is for existing gun laws to be enforced while they systematically set about to dismantle which laws we have,” he said. “I continue to feel that there’s no reason to permit armor-piercing, cop-killer bullets to be sold like Tic-tac’s, that automatic weapons should be available over the counter with 100-bullet magazines like killer in Colorado had, that facilitate such sprees.”

The nine-term Democrat called on gun owners to “join with politicians, business, [and] the health community to come together to deal with an epidemic of gun violence in a way we would treat any other threat to the safety of our families and our communities.”

“We would study, we would work on solutions together, and we would act,” he imagined. “Sadly, we’re still waiting.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul232012

White House Suggests Obama Will Not Push for More Gun Control

David De Lossy/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The White House signaled on Sunday that President Obama, who has seldom shown much appetite to fight with the powerful National Rifle Association, did not intend to make a push for stricter gun controls in the wake of the shootings in Aurora, Colo.

“The president’s views on this are, as he has stated and as he spelled out in the op-ed that was published in an Arizona newspaper, which is that he believes we need to take steps that protect Second Amendment rights of the American people but that ensure that we are not allowing weapons into the hands of individuals who should not, by existing law, obtain those weapons,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said on Air Force One as the president flew to Colorado.

The op-ed to which Carney referred was published in the Arizona Star in March 2011, two months after the shootings in Tucson, Ariz., in which six people were killed and 13 -- including now former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords -- were wounded.  The president in that op-ed called for a focus on “sound and effective steps that will actually keep those irresponsible, law-breaking few from getting their hands on a gun in the first place.”

This included a push to strengthen the National Instant Criminal Background Check System with better state data by rewarding those states that “provide the best data -- and therefore do the most to protect our citizens,” and making the system “faster and nimbler” with “an instant, accurate, comprehensive and consistent system for background checks to sellers who want to do the right thing, and make sure that criminals can’t escape it.”

This wouldn’t have had any impact on the alleged Aurora shooter, since James Holmes had no criminal record, save for one speeding ticket.  All indications are that he purchased his weapons perfectly legally.

“The president’s view is that we can take steps to keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them under existing law,” Carney said.  “And that’s his focus right now.”

Asked about the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004, which might have covered one of the weapons used by the shooter, and perhaps a large capacity ammunition feeding device, Carney suggested that there was no new push for the ban to be renewed.

“The president is focused on doing the things that we can do that protect Second Amendment rights, which he thinks is important, but also to make it harder for individuals who should not, under existing law, have weapons to obtain them,” Carney repeated.

Asked if the president believed “gun control should now have sort of a larger role in the campaign,” Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, “I think this stage where this is so fresh and new for so many people, including the people in Colorado, who are still mourning the loss of their loved ones, will be for a long time, many people are still recovering, we’re still learning what exactly happened here and more details -- that’s where our focus is right now.  And so it’s really too early to say how this will play.  And again, we’re just taking it day by day.  That’s what our focus is today.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jul222012

Gov. John Hickenlooper: James Holmes Would Have Created ‘Horror’ Without Guns

ABC News (AURORA, Colo.) -- Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper suggested Sunday morning on “This Week” that even if Aurora shooting suspect James Holmes did not have access to guns, he would have found a way to create “horror.”

“This wasn’t a Colorado problem. This is a human problem,” Hickenlooper said. “Even if he didn’t have access to guns, this guy was diabolical…he would have found explosives. He would have found something…he would have done something to create this horror.”

George Stephanopoulos also spoke with the mayor of Aurora, Steve Hogan, who said Holmes appeared “normal.”

“He just by every standard appeared normal,” said Hogan. “He did have friends. He had made connections. He had people he went drinking with on Friday nights.”

On Friday, 24-year-old James Holmes allegedly entered a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. during a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” and opened fire, killing 12 people and injuring dozens more. The incident is the largest mass shooting in American history.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jul202012

Bloomberg Demands Specifics from Obama, Romney on Gun Violence

Michael Loccisano/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) -- Hours after the Aurora, Colo., mass shootings early Friday morning, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg demanded that President Obama and Mitt Romney do more than try to console the victims and survivors by explaining to the country how they will prevent this type of gun violence.

"There are so many murders with guns every day, it's just got to stop," Bloomberg said on WOR Radio. "And this is a real problem. No matter where you stand on the Second Amendment, no matter where you stand on guns, we have a right to hear from both of them concretely, not just in generalities -- specifically what are they going to do about guns?"

"We can talk about it on the talk shows, we can wring our hands and say it's terrible. You know, 'I need more guns to protect myself,'" Bloomberg continued. "That strategy doesn't work."

Bloomberg, who has been the mayor of the country's largest city for a decade, has overseen a significant drop in the city's crime rate. He said Friday that the problem of gun violence is "growing and it's not just an inner-city, east coast, west coast, big city phenomenon. Aurora is not a big city."

Under Colorado's gun laws it was legal for James Holmes, the 24-year-old Aurora, Colo., man who law enforcement has named as the suspect in today's shootings, to carry the assault-style rifle and shotgun that he allegedly used to kill at least 12 and injure at least 50 more movie-goers in his car.

"If it was one of your kids yesterday in Aurora, maybe you'd stand up and say I'm not going to take this anymore," Bloomberg said. "And instead of the two people -- President Obama and Governor Romney -- talking in broad things about they want to make the world a better place, OK, tell us how."

Both candidates support the Second Amendment right to own guns, but the issue, which has played a large role in previous elections, has not been prevalent on the campaign trail in 2012.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio