For Lawmakers and Advocates, Ideological Lines Harden Over Gun Control


Congressional battle lines have hardened over firearms restrictions, laying the foundation for what will likely be a fight over any proposed new gun laws, reports the Wall Street Journal. Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R.-S.C.) said he owned an AR-15, an assault-style rifle, at his home and suggested that the solution isn’t to take his firearm away but to provide better school security and focus more on mental health as a way to cut gun violence. “I don’t suggest you take my right to buy an AR-15 away from me, because I don’t think that it will work,” he said.

The NRA’s Wayne LaPierre adamantly opposed new restrictions and faulted federal authorities for failing to adequately enforce existing ones. In its 141st year, the NRA has risen to become one of America’s most powerful lobby groups. Now the NRA is responding to a massacre that has President Obama advocating for more stringent gun control. Sen. Charles Schumer (D.-N.Y.) said the country can’t reduce gun violence without considering access to firearms and ammunition. That would be “like trying to prevent lung cancer without talking about cigarettes,” he said. At least one Republican, retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, said a ban on semiautomatics should be considered. President Obama has authority to tighten access to certain guns and bolster the background-check system, even with no action from Congress. The White House has acknowledged it has options beyond congressional action but has declined to specify what those might be. He has powers under a 1968 law to ban the import of certain assault weapons, for example.

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