“After all these massacres that have happened all we hear from the NRA is that we’re taking away Second Amendment rights, said Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) at a press conference today.
“This has nothing to do with Second Amendment Rights. This was made for military and for police,” McCarthy said pointing to a picture of an AR-15 assault rifle like the one James Holmes used to shoot 71 people last week.
“This is meant to kill as many people as possible in the shortest period of time,” she added.
Sens. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ), along with Reps. McCarthy and Diana DeGette (D-CO) offered legislation today to limit high capacity magazines in firearms. In recent years, perpetrators of mass shootings have used high capacity magazines including Holmes, who had a high capacity loader that held 100 rounds of ammunition.
The members offered the legislation with a clear understanding: That the NRA has many members of Congress running scared and that their own Democratic leadership, including President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, would appear to have no interest in changing gun laws or even having a debate on the issue.
DeGette mentioned that she and McCarthy have been working on gun control since they arrived in Congress in 1996.
“Since we’ve been in Congress the U.S. House of Representatives has had 23 moments of silence moments of silence for gun victims and we’re having another one tonight,” Degette said. “How many more moments of silence do we have to have,” DeGette asked reporters.
The members rebuffed reporters who asked why they would offer such legislation knowing the chances of passage are slim.
“The silence is almost defending … it reminds us that we have to step up and be counted. The Aurora threater masacre is only a late example of out of control gun violence in America and we have to sound the alarm,” Sen. Lautenberg said.
“We can not let the NRA stop us from common sense reforms anymore. We can not let them co-opt the conscious of our country and our Congress. The NRA and their allies claim they want to protect freedom and liberty — what about the freedom from fear and danger and terror?” Lautenberg added.
The members mentioned that during the mass murder in Aurora, the gunman, James Holmes, shot 70 people in a theater of 200 with an assault rifle they say should only be in the hands of the police or members of the military. The bulk loader magazine jammed as Holmes was in the process of shooting 71 people.
“We have to ban these things once and for all, Lautenberg said referring to high capacity magazines. They use to be banned … there are no more excuses for inaction. What does it take to go from Columbine to Virginia Tech to the assault on Congresswoman Giffords and now this?” the New Jersey Senator told reporters.
“We can not understand why anybody should be able to get a hold of a magazine cartridge that holds 100 rounds of ammunition,” said Rep. DeGette of Colorado. Her district contains Columbine High School which was the scene of a mass gun murder in 1999 where 13 people where 36 people were shot and 13 killed.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) have both indicated they do not plan to move gun legislation in the House. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has indicated the same.
LAUREN VICTORIA BURKE, Politic365 Managing Editor, publishes the blog Crewof42 on the Congressional Black Caucus. She can be heard every Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET on WMCS 1290 in Milwaukee on Earl Ingram’s show The Evening Rush as well as on WPFW 89.3 every Friday at 6:30 p.m. Ms. Burke is a former employee of USAToday.com and ABC News. You can e-mail her at LBurke007@gmail.com follow her on twitter @Crewof42.