10:33 AM PST, December 17, 2012
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) was one of a growing chorus of lawmakers who took to the weekend political talk show circuit to call for stricter gun controls, improved school safety and enhanced mental health measures.
Appearing on MSNBC the day after the mass shooting at a school in Connecticut left 20 first-graders dead, Schiff said the massacre of 26 people — 20 of them first-graders who were shot multiple times — at Sandy Hook Elementary on Friday should serve as a “tipping point” for enacting responsible gun control legislation, ranging from renewal of the Assault Weapons Ban to closing gun show loopholes.
“Even beyond gun control, it is going to require, I think, a real serious conversation about whether we need to have so many guns,” Schiff — a former federal prosecutor — said as he spoke with MSNBC’s Craig Melvin.
On the other end of the spectrum was Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas). Speaking on Fox News Sunday, he suggested that the school principal, who was killed by the gunman, could have “taken him out” if only she had kept an assault rifle in her office.
Schiff acknowledged it will be difficult for some members of Congress who represent strong gun-rights districts because the National Rifle Assn. has deep pockets.
“It is a challenge, but [passing gun control legislation] is going to have to be done,” Schiff said. “We just can’t keep going through tragedy after tragedy like this — it has got to stop.”
To that end, the NRA broke its silence on Tuesday, announcing in a statement that it had planned a news conference for Friday, while also promising “meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has said she plans to introduce legislation next month that would restore the ban on assault-style weapons, which was allowed expire 10 years after Congress passed it in 1994.
Meanwhile, the town of Newtown, Conn. started to bury its dead and come to grips with a tragedy that shocked a nation.
Schiff added that he reacted to the recent killings the same way millions of parents did.
“When I went to pick up my son at the bus stop, I grabbed him and hugged him -- I didn’t tell him why -- but I know millions of parents did that and we all want our kids to grow up in safety and outlive us,” he said. “For 20 kids, their parents aren’t going to know what their children might have become and have that wonderful life.”
-- Mark Kellam, Times Community News