Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Gun Control Debate Intensifies in Senate Hearing

At the Los Angeles Times:

WASHINGTON -- There was little common ground between gun-control advocates and opponents at the first congressional hearing on guns since the massacre of children and teachers at Newtown, Conn.

“This is such a hard debate because people have such fixed positions,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said, underscoring the entrenchment on display during the hearing put together to prevent future gun violence.

Headlined by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and her husband, Mark Kelly, and National Rifle Assn. Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre, the Senate hearing focused on gun ownership, law enforcement and mental health issues brought to the forefront by the spree of mass shootings last year.

Kelly echoed his wife's emotional opening to the proceedings, strongly calling for universal background checks that he said would at least delay and impede criminals or mentally troubled individuals from obtaining firearms through legal means.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the committee, engaged in a heated exchange with LaPierre, pressing the NRA leader on his opposition to background checks at gun shows, which currently are subjected to minimal federal regulations.

“Please, Mr. LaPierre, I'm not trying to play games here,” Leahy said curtly following an answer he regarded as insufficient, prompting LaPierre to clearly state his opposition to the background checks.

“It does not make sense to extend the law to hobbyists and private sellers,” LaPierre said, claiming that “the law right now is a failure,” and any background check extensions will be ineffectual due to improper enforcement by federal prosecutors.
A full video of LaPierre's testimony is here.

And see the commentary at Memeorandum.

Added: At the Right Scoop, "Dishonest Dick Durbin smears NRA at hearing, uses dishonest tactics with panelists."