Today’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing marked the first legislative hearing on gun control since President Obama announced sweeping proposals earlier this year. In attendance, among others, were:

  • Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association
  • David Kopel, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Denver
  • James Johnson, Baltimore County Chief of Police and Chair of the National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence
  • Gayle Trotter, attorney and Senior Fellow of the Independent Women’s Forum
  • Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
  • Committee Chairman Senator Partick Leahy (D-VT)

Also invited to speak was former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and her husband Mark Kelly. Giffords was a victim of an assassination attempt two years ago in Tuscon, Arizona which left six people dead. She spoke briefly at the hearing calling for congress to take “bold” action on gun control.

httpv://youtu.be/thOhDNfyvRc

Mark Kelly also spoke at length regarding the country’s background check system and gave a detailed list of laws in the process, as well as the many methods used to circumvent checks altogether.

“The holes and our laws make a mockery of the background check system. Congress should close the private sales loophole, and the dangers people entered into that system,” Kelly said. “Second, remove the limitations on collecting data and conducting scientific research on gun violence. Enact a tough federal gun trafficking statute, this is really important. And finally, let’s have a careful and civil conversation about the lethality of firearms we permit to be legally bought and sold in this country.”

Supporting him was James Johnson, who voiced concern over the types of weapons that could fall into the wrong hands.

“The best way to stop a bad guy from getting a gun in the first place is a good background check,” Johnson said.

The Baltimore County police chief voiced that the ban on “assault weapons” and “high capacity” magazines should be reinstated, a subject brought up earlier in the month by Senator Feinstein. When questioned about a citizen’s right to protect themselves and their families in the event of a natural disaster or riot, when such weapons might be used for home defense, Johnson replied that the police were well prepared for such occurrences.

The National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre did not share the same view.

“If a tornado hits, if a hurricane hits, if a riot occurs that they’re gonna be out there alone,” said LaPierre. “And the only way they’re gonna protect themselves in the cold and the dark, when they’re vulnerable is with a firearm. And I think that indicates how relevant and essential the Second Amendment is in today’s society to fundamental human survival.”

The NRA’s executive vice president further elaborated that law-abiding citizens should not be blamed for the actions of criminals. LaPierre cited studies that show the last assault weapons ban had no effect on lowering crime as well as the fact that criminals and the mentally ill often do not submit to background checks.

“We believe the answer is to be honest about what works and honest about what doesn’t work,” LaPierre stated.

Additional speakers supported the legitimate use of “assault weapons” for self-defense.

“They are often the best choice for the lawful defense of self and others,” said professor and constitutional law expert David Kopel. Kopel reasoned that gun control in countries such as the United Kingdom and Canada either led to an increase in crime or a “serious peril to gun ownership.” Professor Kopel stated that these kind of laws will not save lives, but dedicated self-defense will. He endorsed LaPierre’s idea of armed security in schools whether by guards or concealed carry teachers.

Female gun owners also had a voice in today’s hearing.

httpv://youtu.be/zZZrLQIeh7s

“An assault weapon in the hands of a young woman defending her babies in her home becomes a defense weapon,” says attorney Gayle Trotter, senior fellow of the Independent Women’s Forum. She implored the committee to consider the safety of women, who are less likely to be attacked in areas with fewer restrictions on concealed carry.

The four-hour hearing ended with Chairman Senator Patrick Leahy asking for all parties to consider areas of agreement where a middle ground can be reached. Plans are in motion for the committee to create legislation next month for congress to consider.

Image screenshot of video by tpmtv on youtube

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  • mammonista

    Both LaPierre and Trotter were an embarrassment.

    How is it that Wayne has reversed his stand of 15 years ago on criminal background checks? He’s out of touch with 90% of Americans on this issue and 86% of NRA members.
    And Trotter gives ‘testimony’ about an imaginary situation where a mother is forced to defend herself and brood of small children from a gang of invading marauders and the only gun available is an AR-15???????????? Huh? As long as this is all make-believe why didn’t she advocate for the legality of belt-fed machine guns when faced with defending herself and clan against Godzilla?
    Gun rights advocates need to keep the crazies away from cameras and microphones if they really want the rest of the country not to think they are not the lunatic fringe!

    • 2ThinkN_Do2

      Fact are facts regardless; There were almost 6x’s more people killed with knives, cutting devices and blunt objects between 2000 – 2008 than with All Rifles. AR-15’s are a non-issue compared to them. There were almost 3x’s more people killed by those same methods than all rifles and shotguns together. Over 50% of all deaths from firearms are suicides; large magazine capacity is usually not an issue in those cases and neither are AR’s.

  • Chris

    I am truely sorry that Mrs Gifford was shot, that is not a reason for doing away with MY Right to Bare Arms. we all ready have Laws on the book to stop this problem…use what you have, not make more. As for the back ground check, those are done anyway…I have heard of a thing called the “HEPA Law” and I believe that says what my doctor and talk about (not guns), stays in his office not anywhere else. Since the young man in Sandywood used his Mom’s guns…did he have a back ground check ?? NO, so what will that help, what about the “Gang Bangger” on the street, is there a background check done out of the trunk, NO…

  • Holly

    I would like to know how this James Johnson thinks that background checks are going to keep bad guys from getting guns. Since when do bad guys care about the law? If they want a gun, they are going to go to any means necessary to get it, even if that means breaking in to a law-abiding citizen’s house and stealing it from them, or a gun shop for that matter, even the black market. Stricter laws aren’t going to help. Letting people have the ability to defend themselves will. If just one teacher/staff in CT were allowed to carry a gun in the school, they might have been able to stop that guy before he got too far. Same goes for the movie theater shooting; it might have been a little more difficult, giving the circumstances (shooting sounds in the movie, dark theater), but once that LEGAL gun carrying person figured it out, they could have taken him out before more had gotten hurt.