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Entries in Jared Lee Loughner (3)

Tuesday
Nov152011

Tucson Shooting Survivors Urge Congress to Act on Gun Laws

David De Lossy/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Survivors of the Tucson, Ariz., shooting rampage that left six dead and 13 wounded, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, raised their voices to Congress on Tuesday, calling for stricter gun laws, while also offering words of encouragement to the recovering congresswoman.

Patricia Maisch, who wrestled the gun clip from alleged shooter Jared Lee Loughner, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of the Fix Gun Checks Act, which would require background checks on anyone who tries to buy a gun, while also tightening rules mandating federal agencies and states to report criminal background activity.

“I am definitely here to remember the names of those we lost, as well as to honor each survivor,” Maisch said. “But my primary mission today is to remind all of you that Tucson is yet another extremely tragic example of what is at stake each and every time a gun falls — or is placed — in the wrong hands.”

Maisch was joined by several others who played a critical role in the moments after Loughner allegedly opened fire in Tucson on Jan. 8.

In addition to the Tucson survivors, more than 50 victims of gun violence from around the country were also present at the Senate Judiciary hearing Tuesday, after a day of lobbying their congressional representatives.

The Tucson survivors had words of encouragement for their recovering congresswoman. Maisch had a message for Giffords, who gave her first interview Monday with ABC News’ Diane Sawyer.

“I know it’s hard. Keep working,” Maisch said following her testimony. “You’re in my prayers.”

While the guns bill had a tremendous showing of support in the audience, there is opposition to the legislation. A research director of the Independence Institute, David Kopel, who testified before the committee, had sharp criticisms for the proposed law, saying that it would ban gun ownership for anyone who’s ever been ordered to receive treatment for any mental problem.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the author of the legislation, denied Kopel’s assertion that the bill would apply broadly to anyone who’s received counseling, saying that the legislation would only deny gun ownership to individuals who were determined to be mentally ill through adjudication.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan282011

House Dems Demand Gun Safety Hearings; Timing Inappropriate? 

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- In the wake of the recent Tucson shootings, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, called Friday on the chairman of the panel to hold hearings on gun safety, but the committee’s top Republican, Lamar Smith, says that the timing is “inappropriate” and could have a “prejudicing” effect on Jared Loughner’s ongoing criminal proceedings.

“We fully recognize and appreciate the sensitivity of the subjects raised by the recent tragedy in Tucson in which our colleague, Gabrielle Giffords, was shot and 18 others were wounded or killed, including members of her staff, a Federal judge, and several other citizens,” the letter states. “However, we also believe it is not only possible, but imperative that Congress review the relevant issues in a civil and objective matter.”

Among the issues the group would like to review in the hearing are high-capacity ammunition magazines, mental health records of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and illegal drug use in the database.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, responded to the letter in a statement, saying that he believes it would be inappropriate to hold hearings so quickly after the Tucson shooting because it could interfere with Loughner’s prosecution.

“I appreciate the Minority’s interest in the NICS program.  And the Judiciary Committee should, at the appropriate time, undertake a review of the NICS system as a part of our oversight of Justice Department programs.  But to undertake such a review in the context of the tragic shooting in Arizona, as the Minority suggests, could have the unintended effect of prejudicing the ongoing criminal proceedings against Loughner in which his mental status is likely to be a key issue,” Smith states. “Jared Loughner has not been found to be mentally ill.  It is inappropriate for Congress to hold hearings on NICS that presume otherwise while Loughner is facing trial.”

Conyers, however, says that the shooting in Tucson only proves the urgency of the need to hold hearings.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan172011

Lawmakers Push for New Gun Laws

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., want to prohibit high-capacity ammunition clips like the one used in the Glock 19 by suspect Jared Loughner in the Arizona shooting. From 1994-2004, an assault weapons ban restricted magazines with a capacity greater than 10 rounds, but today only the District of Columbia and six states -- New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Hawaii, California and Massachusetts -- still ban clips holding more than 10 rounds. The Glock 19 used by Jared Lee Loughner in Arizona was fitted with an extended clip holding as many as 33 rounds.

"The only reason to have 33 bullets loaded in a handgun is to kill a lot of people very quickly. These high-capacity clips simply should not be on the market," Lautenberg said in a statement about his proposal. "Before 2004, these ammunition clips were banned, and they must be banned again. When the Senate returns to Washington, I will introduce legislation to prohibit this type of high-capacity clip."

Meanwhile, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., wants the military to inform the FBI's national database when someone is rejected for enlistment because of illegal drug use. In a letter to the Obama administration on Sunday, Schumer said such a move would have prevented Loughner from buying a gun.

"Had this reporting requirement been in place, Loughner would likely have been prevented from purchasing a firearm. We should fix this reporting loophole so that future tragedies can be prevented," Schumer wrote in his letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson.

Last week, the chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said he would be "introducing in the next several weeks legislation that would make it a federal crime to carry a weapon within 1,000 feet of any event which is attended by the president, the vice president, members of the Senate, members of the House of Representatives, cabinet officials, including the CIA director as well as federal judges."

In the United States, it is illegal to bring a gun within 1,000 feet of a school. Passing a similar law to protect government officials would give federal, state, and local law enforcement a better chance to intercept potential gunmen before they pull the trigger, according to King.

In the wake of the tragedy in Tucson, numerous lawmakers in the House and Senate have unveiled proposals to try to prevent such incidents from happening again.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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