NY Mayor, Congressman Seek to Enforce and Strengthen Gun Laws
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Rep. Peter King (R-NY3) says he will introduce legislation to toughen gun laws in the wake of the deadly mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona, where a lone gunman killed six people and injured 14, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
The Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee said Tuesday that he'll seek to make it illegal to carry a gun within 1,000 feet of the president, vice president, members of Congress, cabinet officials including the CIA director, and federal judges. He says sensible gun control is part of his conservative values, even though some of his conservative colleagues don't necessarily agree.
"They see if you pass any regulation on guns whatsoever that's the first step to take away their guns. And we have to make it clear that is not the case," King said.
King said the legislation is aimed not just to protect officials, but to let the public feel safe to participate in political events. The Long Island Congressman joined Mayor Bloomberg and others at City Hall on Tuesday to call for more "common-sense steps" to help prevent another shooting tragedy.
"We're not here to tell any state what to do. We've got to worry about what we do in our respective states and cities," said Bloomberg, who has made gun control a signature issue as mayor. "But on the national level, we want the federal laws that are already on the books enforced."
Bloomberg says the Tucson case, where the gunman has a known history of drug abuse, is just one example of the need to close gaps in background checks on would-be gun purchasers. The mayor says the failure of federal agencies to share such information must also be addressed, and he urged the Senate to expedite the confirmation of the head of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which has operated without a director for four and a half years.