gun laws

With new Congress comes a new push for gun laws

by Athena Jones, CNN  |  published on January 7, 2013

Lawmakers began a new session of Congress with the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, still fresh in their minds — inspiring a new push to pass gun laws that could prevent another tragedy.

On Day One, lawmakers in the House of Representatives introduced nearly a dozen bills related to gun violence.

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-New York, a longtime gun control advocate, led the fight on the Democratic side of the aisle. She’s sponsoring legislation that would require background checks for all gun sales — including at gun shows — and ban online sales of ammunition. McCarthy is also co-sponsoring a bill to ban high-capacity magazine clips with Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colorado. DeGette’s district includes Columbine High School, where two gunmen killed 13 people in 1999, and is next to Aurora, where a gunman killed 12 people in a mass shooting at a movie theater in July.

“These assault magazines help put the ‘mass’ in ‘mass shooting’ and anything we can do to stop their proliferation will save lives in America,” said McCarthy, whose husband was killed and her son critically wounded in a mass shooting on the Long Island Railroad in New York in 1993. “These devices are used to kill as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time possible, and we owe it to innocent Americans everywhere to keep them out of the hands of dangerous people.”

Meanwhile, two Republican freshmen, Rep. Steve Stockman of Texas and Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, have introduced bills that would allow more guns around schools.

In the Senate, California Democrat Dianne Feinstein plans to introduce a bill to ban the sale, transfer, importation and manufacturing of more than 100 firearms. The bill would also ban certain semiautomatic rifles, handguns and shotguns that can accept a detachable magazine, and semiautomatic rifles and handguns with a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds. The assault weapons ban Feinstein helped pass in 1994 expired in 2004. Feinstein is in the process of gathering support for her bill in both chambers.

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