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Entries in Gun Laws (13)

Saturday
Mar092013

States Having Their Own Gun-Control Debates

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- While Washington tries to decide how best to address with the gun violence epidemic in the country, individual states are making their own rules and having debates of their own.

More than 1,100 gun-related bills have been introduced on the state level, according to a review conducted earlier this week by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Some of these bills have tried to restrict access to guns, while others do just the opposite.

South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard signed a law on Friday that would give school boards the authority to allow teachers to carry firearms in the classroom.

In the town of Nelson, Georgia, 50 miles north of Atlanta, lawmakers are considering an ordinance that would mandate gun ownership for all homeowners. In Missouri, a lawmaker proposed a bill that would make it a felony to propose any new gun legislation.

Some lawmakers in Colorado are attempting to pass a series of more restrictive gun control laws to combat mass gun violence in the wake of the movie theater shooting in Aurora last summer. They are facing resistance from those who want to protect the tradition of gun ownership, as well as those motivated by business interests.

One major gun manufacturer, Magpul Industries, has threatened to leave Colorado if certain measures go into effect.

In Washington, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted in favor of a gun trafficking bill that would make straw purchasing illegal, and the bill will now move to be considered by the full Senate.

It’s looking doubtful, however, that the assault weapons ban will pass the Senate. Similarly, the background check bill has stalled in Congress after some important supporters backed out of talks, saying they could not support the bill in its current state.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan142013

Los Angeles Mayor Talks Immigration Reform, Gun Laws

Jerod Harris/Getty Images for BGR(WASHINGTON) -- Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said fights on the debt ceiling and spending cuts should not distract Congress from efforts to fix a “broken immigration system” and introduce new comprehensive immigration legislation in 2013.

“They should be able to walk and chew gum at the same time,” said Villaraigosa to a crowd of around 70 in Washington, D.C., Monday.

Villaraigosa characterized the current immigration system as “long on enforcement and short on opportunity.”

The mayor also presented a six-part plan for achieving legal residency, which includes an employment verification system, border protection and criminal background checks.

“Legalization should be earned, but not be unattainable,” said Villaraigosa, one of the top-elected Latino officials in the United States and a fierce advocate for a comprehensive immigratrion bill.

The mayor has also become active with other big-city mayors, such as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, on the issue of gun violence. And one month after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Villaraigosa repeated calls for tougher gun laws.

“It’s an abomination that we don’t have an assault weapons ban,” said Villaraigosa.

Villagairosa also called for setting up universal background checks and a “beef-up” of mental health resources.

As for his future in the public sector, Villaraigosa wouldn’t give any specifics, saying only that he is “focusing on the job at hand” until the end of his mayoral term in June.

He is widely considered a potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, or as a good contender to join President Obama’s cabinet.

Villaraigosa previously served as the chairman of the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan092013

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

Wednesday
Dec192012

House Democrats Urge Congress To Toughen Gun Laws

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- As the country mourns victims of last week’s massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and the debate over gun control takes on new urgency in Washington, House Democrats Wednesday called on Congress immediately to enact tougher gun legislation, particularly a ban on so-called “assault weapons” and high-capacity ammunition magazines.

“No words are adequate to console the families of these children and others who were taken from us in an act of senseless, unspeakable violence,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. “Here in Congress, what we need now are not more words. What we need is action.”

Pelosi called on Congress to restore an expired ban on assault weapons, outlaw high-capacity magazines, strengthen the federal background check system and address the issue of mental health in order “to keep weapons out of the hands of those in greatest danger of doing harm to themselves and to others.”

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy of New York, arguably the Democrats’ fiercest advocate for tougher gun laws, called on Republicans, “to join us in supporting our efforts to reduce gun violence in America.”

“All too often, we see these mass killings and we mourn for those that have died in the past. And yet, all our lives go on. But this time, it is different, and we all know it,” said McCarthy, whose husband was murdered and son wounded in a 1993 shooting aboard a commuter train in Long Island.

“It shouldn’t be a Democrat or a Republican issue,” she said. “It’s all of us as Americans who are mourning the death in Newtown, and we don’t want to see any more of these shootings again.”

No Republican lawmakers attended the news conference.

Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz., who was wounded in a Tucson, Ariz., shooting as a staffer working alongside former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords two years ago, noted a perceived lack of willpower among congressional Republicans for tougher legislation.

“I’m a newcomer. I’ve only been here about five months,” Barber said. “I know what’s going on in terms of the political gamesmanship, but this is an issue on which political games have to stop. We should have members of the Republican caucus standing with us today and I hope, in time, we will. This has to be a bipartisan issue in the end.”

Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., blasted Texas Gov. Rick Perry for suggesting that teachers should have “access to weapons in their school.”

“The notion that more Americans, quote/unquote, in the words of Gov. Perry, ‘packing heat will make us safer’ is not founded in reality, in facts or in history,” Himes said. “It is founded in the fantasy of testosterone-laden individuals who have blood on their hands for articulating that idea.”

Pelosi announced that Rep. Mike Thompson, a seven-term Democrat from California, will head a newly created task force focused on reducing and preventing gun violence.

Thompson, a Vietnam veteran, said it’s time for Congress to enact a, “comprehensive package that addresses the gun violence [and] puts in place appropriate restrictions on inappropriate types of firearms and accessories.”

One bill Democrats hope to pass would limit ammunition magazines to 10 rounds, prohibiting high-capacity magazines like the ones used in mass shootings in Aurora, Colo., and Newtown.

“It’s time. We need to do everything we possibly can to minimize gun violence,” Thompson said. “I’ve been a hunter all my life and there’s no reason to have a magazine that holds 30 shells.”

McCarthy admitted that strengthening the country’s gun laws is “like a puzzle,” and, “no single piece of legislation is going to solve everything.”

“You’ve got to put everything together to have it work,” she said. “There are some who say that any gun restriction is an imposition on their liberty, but they must understand that the level of gun violence in America today is an imposition on the liberty of all Americans.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec172012

White House Offers No Details on Gun Control Efforts

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The day after President Obama pledged to “use whatever power this office holds” to prevent future tragedies like the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the White House offered few details on how he plans to halt gun violence.
 
“It’s a complex problem that will require a complex solution. No single piece of legislation, no single action will fully address the problem,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters. “I don’t have a specific agenda to announce to you today. I would simply point you to what the president said last night about moving forward in coming weeks. And I would look for him to do that.”
 
“We can’t tolerate this anymore,” Obama said Sunday at a vigil for families of the victims of Friday’s deadly shooting. “These tragedies must end.  And to end them, we must change.  We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true.  No single law -- no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world, or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society. But that can’t be an excuse for inaction.  Surely, we can do better than this.”
 
The President continues to support reinstating the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004, but Carney offered no outline of a proposal or timeline going forward.
 
“I think that what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School has clearly shocked the entire nation and has laid bare the necessity of evaluating the various things that we can and must do as a nation to try to better protect our children,” he said.
 
Carney reminded reporters that the president “didn’t talk about months or years. He said ‘coming weeks.’”
 
While addressing gun violence is part of the solution, Carney stressed that it is far from all of it. “It’s important to remember that this is about our gun laws and enforcing them, but it’s also about a broader series of issues, including issues of mental health and education and the like,” he said.
 
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec142012

The Changing Gun Control Laws in America

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Friday's mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., is the second deadliest shooting in American history, but whether this mass tragedy will yield any legislative action on gun control laws remains to be seen.

In his statement Friday, President Obama called for "meaningful action," but he did not specify a call for stricter gun control.

"We're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this regardless of the politics," Obama said, choking up during his statement.

From 1994 to 2004, the Federal Assault Weapons Ban prohibited the possession and further manufacturing of semiautomatic assault weapons that were capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Various types of pistols, shotguns and rifles fell into this ban, which did not restrict semiautomatic assault weapons that had been legally obtained before the ban went into effect. But the law stipulated that the ban would be in effect for only 10 years, and although proposals were put forth to extend it, the bills died in Congress.

With the assault weapons ban expired, there were two major federal statutes that regulated the sale and possession of guns: the National Firearms Act, which was passed in 1934, and the Gun Control Act of 1968.

The National Firearms Act taxes the manufacturing and sale of guns, and it requires that gun distributors register all guns with the attorney general, and relay sales information. The Gun Control Act of 1968 builds on that law, requiring that gun manufacturers and salespeople be federally licensed. The act also prohibits the interstate sale of guns. In 1993, the Brady Handgun Prevention Act was passed. Named after White House press secretary James Brady who was injured in the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, amended the Gun Control Act of 1968 to require background checks for those purchasing firearms

In 1993, the Brady Handgun Prevention Act was passed. Named after White House press secretary James Brady, who was injured in the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan, it required background checks for those purchasing firearms who were not already licensed to carry them (those who were already licensed include police officers and other law enforcement agents).

The law did specify nine groups of people who were not allowed to legally purchase firearms, including convicted criminals who have received a prison sentence of more than one year, individuals who have been committed to mental institutions or have been flagged as being "mentally defective," unauthorized immigrants, individuals who have been convicted on charges of domestic violence, and those who have been dishonorably discharged from the military.

The law also puts an age restriction on purchasing guns as well: 18 to buy firearms classified as "long guns" (rifles), and 21 to buy firearms classified as "short guns" (handguns).

But proponents of stronger gun control argue that these laws don't go far enough, that it's too easy for people to obtain deadly firearms such as assault weapons.

In 2012, the country has witnessed multiple mass shootings -- at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., at a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin and, earlier this week, at a mall in Oregon. But Congress has been slow to act on gun control.

A study on gun control legislation was presented to Congress in November 2012. Written by a specialist in domestic security and crime policy, it said that since March 2011,"much of the gun control debate in the 112th Congress has swirled around allegations that the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives mishandled a Phoenix, Ariz.-based gun-trafficking investigation known as Operation Fast and Furious."

In the coming days, as the country learns more about Adam Lanza, the suspected shooter who carried out Friday's deadly attack and how he obtained the weapons, renewed calls for stricter gun control laws may begin to get heard.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec142012

Politicians Call Connecticut Shooting ‘Senseless,’ Some Urge Gun Restrictions

DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Politicians on Twitter and in written statements reacted with horror to the school shooting that left 27 people dead, including 18 children, in Newtown, Conn., Friday.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he was “shocked and saddened” by the tragic shooting. He also said society should “unify” to “crack down on the guns.”

“During times of such unthinkable tragedy, all New Yorkers stand together with the people of our neighboring state to grieve the loss of life and help bear the pain and anguish that will be felt by so many in the weeks, months, and years to come,” Gov. Cuomo wrote in a statement. “While we don’t have all the facts and our focus must be on the victims, this is yet another senseless and horrific act of violence involving guns. We as a society must unify and once and for all crack down on the guns that have cost the lives of far too many innocent Americans. Let this terrible tragedy finally be the wake-up call for aggressive action and I pledge my full support in that effort.”

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., also called immediately for tougher gun laws. He said he was “absolutely horrified” by news of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

“Yet another unstable person has gotten access to firearms and committed an unspeakable crime against innocent children.  We cannot simply accept this as a routine product of modern American life,” Congressman Nadler said in a statement.

Nadler reacted to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney‘s assertion that Friday -- on the same day as the tragedy -- is not the day to discuss gun control policy. Carney was asked if Friday’s shooting makes “limiting handgun violence or other gun violence” a higher priority for the president.

“There is, I’m sure — will be, rather, a day for discussion of the usual Washington policy debates, but I don’t think today is that day,” Carney said.

“If now is not the time to have a serious discussion about gun control and the epidemic of gun violence plaguing our society, I don’t know when is.  How many more Columbines and Newtowns must we live through?  I am challenging President Obama, the Congress, and the American public to act on our outrage and, finally, do something about this.”

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell related Friday’s events to the shooting that took the lives of 32 people at a university in his state.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those impacted by the events transpiring today, and to the teachers, emergency responders, and all others touched by this tragedy. Unfortunately, Virginia has our own painful memories of the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007. Those memories will never fade, and we continue to grieve for all those lost on that April day,” Gov. McDonnell wrote in a statement. “We are all too aware of the impact that events like this can have on a community. If there is anything Virginia can do to assist Governor Malloy and the citizens of Connecticut, we stand ready to do so.”

Gov. John Hickenlooper, of Colorado where the Columbine High School shooting took 13 lives, also offered his condolences.

“The shooting in Connecticut is absolutely horrific and heartbreaking,” the Colorado governor wrote in a statement. “We know too well what impact this kind of violence has on a community and our nation. Our thoughts and prayers are immediately with the families of those killed. We can offer comfort, but we all know the pain will stay forever.”

More than 70 members of the House of Representatives used Twitter to express their sadness over the violence in Connecticut.

Rep. Joe Courtney, R-Ct., tweeted his reaction.

@RepJoeCourtney: #Newtown shooting is an horrific, senseless tragedy. Thoughts and prayers for victims, families, and the Sandy Hook Elementary community.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi predicted the nation will support Newtown in the weeks to come in her statement.

@NancyPelosi: "No words can console the parents of the children murdered at Sandy Hook. We share our prayers and our grief over these horrifying events."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul262012

White House: Leaving ‘No Stone Unturned’ Does Not Include New Gun Laws

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- One day after President Obama publicly renewed his push to reduce gun violence in America, the White House made clear he has no plans to put new gun legislation on the table.

The president said Wednesday that steps to reduce gun violence, “should not be controversial, they should be common sense,” and vowed to “leave no stone unturned” in seeking new measures to reduce violence nationwide.

On Thursday, the White House said the president was speaking in broad terms.

“We have to remember that in the wake of awful events like the one in Aurora, Colorado, that violence is not an isolated incident in America and that we need to take a broader look at it and try to tackle it from a number of different directions, which this president has been doing through his administration,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters.

The president continues to support the assault weapons ban but, given the “stalemate in Congress,” Carney explained, “there are things that we [can] do, short of legislation and short of gun laws” to reduce violence across the country.

Speaking to the National Urban League in New Orleans, Obama acknowledged that more can be done to prevent criminals from purchasing weapons and restrict mentally unbalanced individuals from acquiring guns.

“I’m going to continue to work with members of both parties, and with religious groups and with civic organizations, to arrive at a consensus around violence reduction -- not just of gun violence, but violence at every level, on every step, looking at everything we can do to reduce violence and keep our children safe -- from improving mental health services for troubled youth to instituting more effective community policing strategies.  We should leave no stone unturned, and recognize that we have no greater mission as a country than keeping our young people safe,” he said.

On Capitol Hill Thursday, Majority Leader Harry Reid said the U.S. Senate would not take up the gun issue this year, although he agreed with Obama’s remarks in New Orleans.

“With the schedule we have we’re not going to get into a debate on gun control. I’m very happy. I’m glad the president made the statement. Cause it’s something that needs to be done,” he said.

Earlier this week, House Speaker John Boehner indicated he is opposed to rushing new gun control legislation to the House floor. But after Obama’s renewed push for action, Boehner pressed the president for specifics.

“AK-47s, all right, are not allowed to be in the hands of criminals. That is the law, and if the president has proposals on other ways that we can address criminals owning guns, I’ll be happy to look at it,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said. “That what’s appropriate at this point, is look at all the laws that we already have on the books and to make sure that they’re working as they were intended to work, and that they’re being enforced the way they were intended to be enforced.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she not only supports the president’s position on the need come together and, “build a national consensus to reduce violence in our country,” she also wants to know how the suspect, James Holmes, was able to acquire his arsenal.

“We need some answers about what happened in Colorado,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said. “There are important voices on all sides of this issue…We all recognize the importance of the Second Amendment and…also the need to reduce violence in our communities.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jul252012

Romney Pushes to Change Hearts, Not Gun Laws

Jeff Swensen/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Mitt Romney said Tuesday that it was “illegal” for the Colorado massacre shooter to have “many” of the weapons he had the night of the deadly incident, but he does not believe changing gun laws will prevent similar incidents from happening.

Asked in an interview with NBC News whether a citizen should be able to buy “6,000 rounds off the internet,” Romney responded, “Well this person shouldn’t have had any kind of weapons and bombs and other devices and it was illegal for him to have many of those things already.”

ABC News has confirmed that all four weapons used by the alleged shooter were legally purchased, as was the ammunition.

A spokeswoman for Romney said the candidate was referring to the bombs in the alleged shooter’s apartment when he suggested illegality of some of the weapons.

Romney went on in the interview to say that changing the law won’t prevent these shooting incidents.

“But he had them,” Romney added of the alleged shooter’s arsenal of weapons. “And so we can sometimes hope that just changing the law will make all bad things go away.”

“It won’t. Changing the heart of the American people may well be what’s essential, to improve the lots of the American people,” Romney added.

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







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