Chuck Schumer, Democratic Senator for New York and co-author of the original 1994 assault weapons ban bill, appeared on CBS’s Face The Nation on Sunday.
Addressing the gun law debate currently raging in the wake of Friday’s massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, Schumer said Democrats and Republicans both needed to vision a “a new paradigm.”
His message to the right? They must concede “that no amendment is absolute.”
And for the left? They should “admit that there is Second Amendment right to bear arms.”
Enshrined in the US constitution, the right to bear arms is something millions of Americans hold as sacrosant. But it seems 27 deaths — 20 of them young children — could make the notion of absolutes, abhorrrent.
On the day that President Obama attended an interfaith vigil in Newtown and told a grieving community “we can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end, and to end them we must change,” Schumer echoed aspects of that call.
Schumer told Face The Nation host Bob Schieffer that he wanted an assault weapons ban that would ensure “mentally unstable people do not get guns.” He added that any gun law restrictions would “not interfere with the fundamental right [to bear arms], but at the same time make us safer.”
Following Democratic Senator for California Dianne Feinstein’s Sunday announcement that she would be introducing a bill to ban assault weapons when Congress returns in January, more Democrats are now coming forward.
Connecticut independent US Senator Joseph Lieberman has called for a national commission to examine mass shootings in the US.
As reported by The Denver Post, Lieberman declared:
“Assault weapons were developed for the U.S. military, not commercial gun manufacturers. This is a moment to start a very serious national conversation about violence in our society, particularly about these acts of mass violence.”
Right now Washington is bracing for a huge face-off between Republicans. But, according to New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, the battle will not be decided by pro-gun lobby groups.
Appearing on Meet the Press today, Bloomberg downplayed the power of the National Rifle Association, telling host David Gregory:
“The NRA’s number one objective this time was to defeat Barack Obama for a second term. Last time I checked the election results, he won and he won comfortably. This myth that the NRA can destroy political careers is just not true.”
According to the Huffington Post Gregory told them,
“We reached out to all 31 pro-gun rights senators in the new Congress to invite them on the program to share their views on the subject this morning. We had no takers.”
No names were given, but the show did reveal that the “group was comprised of 113th Congress members who were given an “A” rating by gun groups — specifically the [NRA] and Gun Owners Of America,” the Huffington Post reports.
One gun rights lobbyist who did make it on to a Sunday talk show was Texas Republican representative Louie Gohmert.
In an interview on Fox News Sunday, Gohmert said of Dawn Hochsprung, the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary School who was among the six adults killed in Friday’s atrocity:
“I wish to God she had had an M-4 in her office, locked up so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out and she didn’t have to lunge heroically with nothing in her hands. But she takes him (the shooter) out, takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids.”