On Saturday, January 26, marchers in support of gun control came from across the country, including first responders and grieving parents from Newtown, Connecticut, to march quietly from the U.S. Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial to protest gun violence. On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will begin hearings on the proposed gun bills. The title of the hearing is “What Should America Do About Guns?” Among those expected to testify are Mark Kelly, husband of former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords supporting gun control and in the opposing corner, National Rifle Association Chief Executive, Wayne LaPierre. Among other witnesses at the hearing will be James Johnson, chief of police for Baltimore County, Md., and chairman of the National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence. The march and the hearing on Wednesday are among the first of many events on the gun issue plaguing our country.
As of January 25, there are now over 25 proposed gun bills in the House and Senate. Below are some of the gun bills:
Senator Diane Feinstein (D. CA) introduced The Assault Weapons ban, Senate bill 150 which is supported by Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and:
• Children’s Defense Fund
• Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
• Friends Committee on National Legislation
• International Association of Chiefs of Police
• Violence Policy Center
Other bills recently introduced are:
• HR141 Closing the ‘gun show loophole.’ To require criminal background checks on all firearms transactions occurring at gun shows. And corresponding Senate bill S 22.
• HR 137 The Fix Gun Checks Act: To ensure that all individuals who should be prohibited from buying a firearm are listed in the national instant criminal background check system and require a background check for every firearm sale.
• HR 138 The High Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act: To prohibit the transfer or possession of large capacity ammunition feeding devices.
• S 35 The Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act: A bill to require face to face purchases of ammunition, to require licensing of ammunition dealers, and to require reporting regarding bulk purchases of ammunition.
• HR 227 The Buyback our Safety Act: To establish a gun buyback grant program.
And then there’s bills like HR 410 To provide that any executive action infringing on the Second Amendment has no force or effect, and to prohibit the use of funds for certain purposes.
On both sides of the aisle is fear. Many gun owners, including women purchasers are afraid that their right to own a gun will be taken away. No proposal intends to strip completely away the 2nd amendment rights to bear arms. And for those grieving the loss of a loved one and those in support of some form of gun control, there is fear of more violence will occur, like the one in Newtown, before Congress acts.
I fear that we have not reached the saturation point to pass any meaningful legislation, despite 300 child deaths last year in Chicago; 20 child deaths on December 14, 2012 at Newtown; the Aurora, Colorado movie shooting that injured 58 persons and killed 12; the Virginia Tech massacre injuring 17 and killing 32; the Tucson shopping center with 18 persons shot, including Congresswoman Gabby Giffords; the Wisconsin Sikh church killing 6 persons; and gun killings and shootings everyday across the country. Most of the gun violence occurs in places where we have the right to assembly peacefully such as schools, churches, shopping centers and movie theaters. The 2nd amendment without any gun or ammunition limitations has stripped that right away in many instances.
The hearings on Wednesday will be a preview of things to come. No action is expected anytime soon. Stay tuned here for the latest developments.