Entries in Guns (18)


Biden Tells Hunters No Need for Semi-Automatic Rifles

ABC News (WASHINGTON) -- Vice President Joe Biden told hunters Wednesday there’s no bear too big, no varmint too small that requires the use of a semi-automatic rifle when hunting.

“If you have to go up into the Poconos and go bear hunting or deer hunting with that weapon, and you need a clip that has 30 rounds in it, then you shouldn’t be hunting,” Biden said in an interview with Field & Stream magazine released Wednesday. “You’re a danger to yourself. If you can’t get the bear or the deer in four or five shots, you’ve got a problem.”

Earlier in the day, Biden delivered a similar comment when he spoke to the National Association of Attorneys General, but that time mentioned varmints.

“I was told, ‘No, we need it for those little varmints.’ OK, I got it. More muskrat and mice might be alive. OK.  I think we can put up with that,” Biden said at the luncheon.  “Guys, these arguments!”

Biden shared a bit of advice on self-defense last week when he suggested people should “Buy a shotgun!” if they want to protect themselves in the home.

In the administration’s latest push to take its gun proposals to the public, the vice president answered questions submitted by hunters in the interview with Field & Stream magazine.  Last week, he took questions during an online forum with Parents magazine.

Biden’s interview was the first in Field & Stream’s series of interviews on gun control.  The next interview will feature Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president and CEO of the National Rifle Association.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Politicians Get Heated During Senate Judicial Hearing on Gun Violence

Allison Shelley/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- It was an emotional day on both ends of the spectrum at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence Wednesday. A father of one of the Newtown victims broke down in tears while testifying, and politicians got fiery as passions, and tensions, expressed themselves.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to consider four gun safety measures, including the assault weapons ban, on Thursday.  The three other bills aim to stop illegal gun trafficking, enhance safety in schools, and enact universal background checks.

Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois became heated as he discussed the suggestion that it is common for people to use assault-style weapons for self-defense.

"If it is common in America to have a military assault weapon with a hundred magazine, if that is common for self-defense in America then God save this country," Durbin said to applause from the room.

One of the most contentious moments of the hearing came when South Carolinian Republican Senator Lindsey Graham asked witnesses about prosecutions on those who failed background checks.

“If we're going to require background checks, it looks to me like we ought to start enforcing the law that are on the books," Graham said. "I'm a bit frustrated we say one thing about how important it is but in the real world we absolutely do nothing to enforce the laws on the books."

Graham proceeded to ask Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn how many false background checks he's forwarded for prosecution.

"It doesn't matter," Flynn said as Graham proceeded to interrupt him. "It's a paper thing...I want to stop 76,000 people from buying guns illegally. That's what a background check does. If you think we're going to do paperwork prosecutions you're wrong!"

Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa argued that limiting the types of firearms people can purchase is not the way to stop criminals from committing acts of violence.

"When something has been tried and found not to work, we should try different approaches rather than reenacting that which hasn't done the job. There are vast numbers of gun-control laws in our country. Criminals do not obey them, but law-abiding citizens do. That tilts the scale in favor of criminals who use guns. If gun-control laws were effective in reducing crime, they would have produced lower crime rates by now.''

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Biden Invokes Untold Horror at Sandy Hook in Gun-Control Plea

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- With hearings underway on Capitol Hill over the administration’s proposed gun-control measures, Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday invoked what he called the untold horror from Sandy Hook Elementary in an appeal for help from the nation’s attorneys general.

“I met with the state troopers who were on the scene this last week. And the impact on them has been profound," Biden said at a Washington luncheon. "Some of them, understandably, need some help.”

Many of the first responders to the scene, where 20 children and 6 adults were killed, have remained out of the public eye in the weeks since the tragedy, keeping their personal grief and emotional trauma private.  Biden said what he heard in private conversations should spur all sides to action.

“The excuse that it’s too politically risky to act is no longer acceptable.  We cannot remain silent,” he said in an impassioned plea.  “We have to become the voices of those 20 beautiful children who 75 days ago were killed. They can’t speak for themselves.

“You know better than any elected officials,” he continued, “we have to speak for the more than 2,000 people who have died at the end of a gun just since Newtown.  2,000 Americans in 75 days.”

Biden acknowledged differences of opinion in how to best address the epidemic of gun violence, but said attorneys general are well-positioned to bridge a partisan divide.

“All of you, unlike any other elected official in your state are cloaked with both a moral and political credibility that no other office holds,” Biden said. “Each of you are able to operate in an area that is not viewed as a partisan bloodbath.

“I need your advice and I need your help, and I mean that sincerely,” he added.  “No one has ever doubted that I mean what I say, the problem is I tend to say all that I mean, and that gets me in trouble.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


White House Defends Biden’s ‘Double-Barrel’ Self-Defense Advice

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GettyImages(WASHINGTON) -- The White House Wednesday defended Vice President Joe Biden’s provocative suggestions that those concerned about an intruder in their home should “get a double-barrel shotgun” and “fire two blasts outside the house.”

“This president and this vice president, this administration firmly supports our Second Amendment rights, upheld by the Constitution, and that includes the right of homeowners, law-abiding American citizens, to have a firearm at their home to protect themselves in their home,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told ABC News’ Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl.

During a Facebook Town Hall Tuesday, Biden told a questioner she’d be better off with a shotgun than an AR-15.  A shotgun is what Biden said he recommended to his own wife.

When pressed by Karl about whether the president agrees with Biden’s self-defense advice, Carney said the president did.

“I think the president does agree with the vice president that homeowners who are interested in utilizing their Second Amendment rights to own a firearm to protect themselves in their home, and their families in their home do not need a military-style assault weapon and that a shotgun would be a logical choice,” Carney said.


Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Biden: Weapons Debate Is More About 'Gun Safety' than Gun Control

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Amid a national debate on gun control, Vice President Biden is viewed as the Democratic party’s point man on strengthening the limits of firearm ownership.

But in an online town hall discussion on Tuesday, Biden was flooded with inquiries from those less inclined to agree with his party’s push to ban high-capacity magazines and assault weapons. Parents magazine hosted the event, taking submitted questions from readers.

One participant asked the vice president how he reconciled a ban on assault weapons with those already in the hands of criminals.

“How can I say this politely?” Biden responded. “The Constitution does allow the government to conclude that there are certain types of weapons that no one can legally known. Now, if that were not the case, then you should be able to go buy a flame-thrower that the military has. You should be able to go, if you’re a billionaire, buy an F-15 [jet fighter] loaded with ordinance. You should be able to buy an M1 tank. You should be able to buy a machine gun. You should be able to buy a grenade launcher. And you can’t do those things.”

The vice president said if one accepts those limitations, the question becomes balancing the right to weapons for self-defense and sport versus outlawing weapons for other uses.

Continuing the trope, another reader questioned how a “ban on guns” would work when prohibition of narcotics failed to keep them off the streets.

Biden responded, “There is no ban on guns." He said, “No one’s banning the gun. No one’s taking my shotguns. I have two shotguns at home. They’re in a — in a cabinet. They’re locked. There is ammunition there as well." He added, "No one is going to come and take my gun.  No one’s going to take anyone’s gun. We’re talking about a background check.”

Continuing with added sarcasm, he asked whether the drug analogy even made sense:

“Are you suggesting [...] we just legalize all drugs? Is that what you’re suggesting? That would go real well in Parents magazine,” he said. “Let’s talk about everybody being able to — no matter what your age, go out and be able to purchase cocaine. What do you think about that idea? Look, these comparisons are not appropriate, quite frankly.”

The vice president said the debate wasn’t a matter of gun control but “gun safety.” Addressing the issue of weapons already in the hands of owners that would become banned, Biden likened the situation to cars burning leaded gasoline.

“In the early '70s when we banned leaded gasoline, everybody said, why would you do that? You still have all these cars out there, all these cars out there that use leaded gasoline and have to use leaded gasoline for the engines to function. The answer was, over time — over time, they will be off the market.”

Biden headed President Obama’s gun violence research commission in the wake of the Connecticut elementary school mass shooting in December. On Thursday he will travel to that state to participate in a gun violence conference 12 miles from where a gunman took the lives of 20 first-graders and six adults using an assault weapon.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


GOP Frosh Bill Would Fund Cops in Schools

David De Lossy/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A freshman House Republican is introducing a bill that could bring the National Rifle Association’s proposal for more armed police officers guarding schools to fruition.

The Protect America’s Schools Act would require the government to spend an additional $30 million on Community Oriented Policing Services, specifically the Cops in Schools program, which has not been funded since FY 2005. That program’s increase would be offset by rescinding $30 million in unspent funds from the budget of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA].

“The [Cops in Schools] program is specifically designed to give local law enforcement agencies additional resources to hire new police officers tasked with policing our schools and providing safety education,” Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., writes in an updated letter seeking cosponsors. “Congress cannot allow tragedies like Newtown to take place without taking action.”

The Cops in Schools program was first created by President Bill Clinton in 1998 with a $60 million grant for the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. Before the program was cut in 2005, the government spent over $750 million to place more than 6,500 police officers in schools.

Meadows is expected to introduce the legislation by Friday afternoon, according to his communications director Lisa Boothe.

Shortly after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre argued that the answer to gun violence in schools is an armed security force made up of trained volunteers to protect students at every school across the country.

“It’s not just our duty to protect [our children], it’s our right to protect them,” LaPierre said Dec. 21. “The NRA knows there are millions of qualified active and reserved police, active and reserve military, security professionals, rescue personnel, an extraordinary corps of qualified trained citizens to join with local school officials and police in devising a protection plan for every single school.”

Later that day, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi conceded that gun violence is a “complicated” issue, but she said the NRA’s proposal “is not a positive force” in the renewed debate over the nation’s gun laws.

“For the NRA and others to sort of shield themselves by saying it’s the mentally ill or something, and therefore we have to have more armed cops in the schools or more guns in the school — what are they — are they going to have [a gun] on the teacher’s desk?” Pelosi, D-Calif., exclaimed Dec. 21. “Wait a minute, man with a gun; I have it locked up someplace. Wait until I go get it. I mean, this — this just doesn’t make sense. We’ve got to reduce violence.”

Democrats unveiled the House task force’s plan to crack down on gun violence last week, calling on Congress to enact an assault weapons ban, outlaw high-capacity assault magazines, and put in place universal background checks for every firearm purchase. The task force recommended 15 steps to curb gun violence, but more armed police officers in schools was not among its proposals.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


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


Paul Ryan on Social Issues: Where Does He Stand?

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Mitt Romney's pick of Paul Ryan as his running mate set off weekend-long debates about the young Wisconsin rep's fiscal policies, but less was said about his stance on social issues. Where does Romney's running mate stand on such issues as abortion and gun rights?

ABORTION:  Ryan is firmly against abortion rights. He has a 100 percent rating from the National Right to Life Committee, the nation's largest anti-abortion rights organization. He co-sponsored the Sanctity of Human Life Act, a bill that would define human life as beginning at conception.

President Obama tweeted earlier today: "Make sure the women in your life know: Paul Ryan supports banning all abortions, even in cases of rape or incest."

Ryan, however, has said that he was willing to disagree, "with mutual respect," with others on the issue.

GAY RIGHTS:  Ryan's record on gay rights is mixed, and gay rights is one issue on which Ryan and Romney disagree somewhat. Ryan's said he's anti-same-sex marriage, and he's voted against adoption rights for same-sex couples. Romney has said he believes same-sex couples should be allowed to adopt.

But Ryan did break with his party to vote for the Sexual Orientation Employment Nondiscrimination Act, which would prohibit discrimination in hiring on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Romney has said that he would not support that legislation at the federal level, saying those decisions should be made by the states.

GUNS: An avid outdoorsman who hunts, Ryan has received an "A" record from the National Rifle Association for his stance and voting record on gun rights. In the past, Ryan has voted "yes" on the Firearms Manufacturers Protection Bill, which would prohibit "misuse" lawsuits against gun manufacturers, and "no" on the 72 Background Check Amendment, which would increase the required background check time period for purchasing a gun from 24 hours to 72 hours.

IMMIGRATION:  Ryan voted against the Dream Act, legislation that would offer a route to citizenship to illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and had gone to college here. On his congressional website, Ryan said that the legislation "attempts to treat a symptom, rather than the root cause, of our current problem." Ryan favors placing a priority on securing the border, "developing a more secure employee verification system" and working on creating "an enforceable guest worker program."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


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


House Prepares for Holder Contempt Vote

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The House of Representatives is currently in the midst of a partisan debate on a resolution to find Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for withholding certain documents related to the Fast and Furious gun-walking operation.

A vote on the criminal contempt resolution is expected by 4 p.m. this afternoon.

If the vote passes, as expected, it would mark the first time in the history of Congress that it has found a sitting U.S. attorney general in contempt of Congress.

Later, the House will vote on a second civil contempt resolution, which authorizes the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to initiate or intervene in judicial proceedings to enforce its subpoena.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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