Theatrics and partisanship that took center stage must give way to reality
The battle over gun rights is on. The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday
held the first congressional hearing on the issue since President Obama declared
new gun-control laws one of his top priorities for the year.
The sides were predictably drawn along party lines. Sen. Dianne Feinstein,
California Democrat, insisted, "We can't have a totally armed society." She and
her colleagues admitted the "assault weapons" ban and related proposals are the
same items they've been trying to pass for years. It's just the horrific
shooting of children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., created
the opportunity to grab attention.
Hundreds lined the hall of the Hart Senate Office Building for a chance to
watch the hearing, but the anti-gun groups appeared to get the drop on the first
100 public seats. The unruly bunch cheered every time a Democratic senator
attacked National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre.
For instance, Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, asked
Mr. LaPierre whether he supported background checks at gun shows. When Mr.
LaPierre tried to shift the answer to legitimate issues related to gun safety
(criminals don't get their weapons from gun shows), Mr. Leahy said he didn't
answer the questions.
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- Judy Chaffee
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