Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., unveiled a bill Tuesday aimed at strengthening background checks and record keeping for ammunition purchases.(Photo: Ann Heisenfelt, AP)
WASHINGTON -- Lawmakers may not be in Washington this week, but
the push to create comprehensive gun control policies has not stopped in
Gun control advocates and their supporters in
Congress acknowledged Tuesday that the key to enacting meaningful change
in the nation's gun laws is keeping the momentum going as all sides
work through the delicate process of crafting policy.
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will be a "major challenge," said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., who
unveiled a bill Tuesday aimed at strengthening background checks and
record keeping for ammunition purchases. But, he said in an interview
with USA TODAY, he was confident the gravity of the recent violence
would keep the public engaged.
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"One of the most common
observations about these mass atrocities is that public opinion peaks
and then it seems to subside as time passes, so the momentum must be
sustained," Blumenthal said.
The shooting Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook
Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that killed 20 children and six
adults caused a "seismic change in public opinion and the political
landscape," Blumenthal said. "We've reached a point now where people
know something has to be done."
Blumenthal's bill, to be
introduced this month, calls for instant background checks for
ammunition sales, re-established rules for gun sellers' record keeping
and notification by sellers if someone buys 1,000 rounds of ammunition
within a short period of time.
It isone of several gun-related
bills likely to be introduced when the Senate gavels into session this
month - including California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein's revamped
assault weapons ban and a bill by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., that
would close the "gun show loophole" and strengthen background checks.
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"We are really working together as a coalition," he said. "The leaders of this effort are working very, very closely."
of a mass-shooting at a Tucson grocery story that killed six and
injured 13, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz, marked the
two-year anniversary Tuesday by speaking out for stricter gun
"Enough is enough," said Roxanna Green, whose
9-year-old daughter, Christina-Taylor, was the youngest person killed
that day. "The time has to be now because there shouldn't be another
Aurora, Oak Creek, Wisconsin, Tucson, [and] definitely, definitely not
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"If that doesn't touch you, you just don't have a heartbeat," she said.
expressed a similar message in an ad Tuesday for Mayors Against Illegal
Guns, a coalition co-chaired by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, which
aired in Tucson at 10:10 a.m. Arizona time - the exact time a gunman
opened fire two years ago. The commercials will air in Washington
through Jan. 14 and in five other cities: Waco, Texas; Roanoke, Va.;
Denver; Binghamton, N.Y.; and Milwaukee.
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Giffords, who was
severely injured in the shooting, and her husband, former astronaut Mark
Kelly, used the anniversary to launch Americans for Responsible
Solutions, a group aimed at starting "a national conversation about gun
violence prevention" and raising money "to balance the influence of the
The White House confirmed Vice President Biden,
Cabinet officials and senior staff will meet with key groups this week
as they continue their work to craft a comprehensive policy solution to
the issue of gun control and gun-related violence in the USA.
President Obama tapped Biden to lead the effort last month after the Newtown shooting.
Among those groups will be the National Rifle Association, one of the chief opponents to tighter restrictions.
Arulanandam, a spokesman for the NRA, said the group received an
invitation to meet with Biden's group Friday and plans to send James J.
Baker, the director of federal relations for the NRA's lobbying arm, "to
hear what they have to say."