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Friday, February 1, 2013

Senate showdown over guns -- By Emily Miller, The Washington Times

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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