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Field Hearing Offers Optimistic View of Future Gun Control Efforts

by | May 10, 2013 4:57pm () Comments | Commenting has expired | Share
Posted to: Public Safety

Hugh McQuaid Photo The U.S. House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force held an offsite hearing in Hartford Friday where U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson and members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation said they’re still hopeful Congress will tighten the nation’s gun purchasing laws.

—More photos.

The taskforce was established by the U.S. House of Representatives soon after the December shooting the left 20 first graders and six educators dead at a Newtown elementary school.

Friday’s field hearing was organized by U.S. Rep. John Larson’s office and held at Hartford High School.

Thompson, a moderate Democrat from California who was chosen in December by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to chair the task force, said he expects that expanded background check requirements for purchasing guns will soon be the “law of the land.”

Despite the defeat of an amendment in the Senate last month which would have required background checks for more firearms purchases, Thompson said he has co-authored a similar piece of legislation which has been amassing signatures of support in the Republican-controlled House.

“They will vote for it, but they just don’t want to be out in front. So if this bill were brought up, it would pass today,” he said, acknowledging that in order to pass, the legislation will likely need to first clear the Senate. “The fact that we continue to get co-authors provides more leverage for Senate to bring their amendment up [again].”

Thompson said field hearings like the one in Hartford help to keep a dialogue about expanding firearm background checks going.

But he acknowledged to the group of Hartford Law and Government Academy students that the dialogue was somewhat different here in Connecticut, where every member of the congressional delegation already supports stricter gun control regulations.

“It doesn’t do any good to call them, they’re already with you. You had them at ‘Hello.’ But you all have friends and you all have family that live outside your congressional district. A cousin who lives in another state. Someone you went to school with… Someone who lives in Georgia or Michigan or Wisconsin. Call them. Tell them to call their member of Congress,” he said.

During her remarks, U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro highlighted some of the difficulties present in finding common ground on gun control in Congress.

“It’s not easy. We are 435 people, all with different backgrounds, coming from different parts of this nation, and it is about melding the ideas together,” she said, adding that Thompson has put together a bill with some Republican supporters.

Larson spoke highly of Thompson, who he said was elected to Congress the same year he was in 1998. He said Pelosi tapped him to chair the gun violence task force because of his “pedigree” as a military combat veteran, gun owner, and hunter.

“He owns and collects guns,” Larson said. “There is no fear that somehow background checks or dealing with military assault weapons or large capacity clips are going to take away the 2nd Constitutional Amendment rights of any American. So he has become the voice and the leader that is galvanizing people all across this country.”

Thompson strongly backed expanding background checks. He said it was “intellectually dishonest at best” to oppose background checks but claim to support keeping guns away from criminals.

However, his gun control priorities differed from members of the Connecticut delegation in some areas, like the effectiveness of banning certain types of weapons. He said efforts like expanding background checks and preventing gun trafficking will do more to protect the public than prohibiting military-style rifles.

“If I never saw another assault weapon in my life, I’ve seen too many. I suspect that most combat veterans feel the same way. But there is a reality to it, and the reality is there’s millions of military-type assault weapons. And if you start prioritizing what does the best for public safety, doing away with one particular type of firearms is pretty far down the list,” he said. 

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(13) Archived Comments

posted by: dano860 | May 10, 2013  11:02pm

It doesn’t do any good to call them, they’re already with you. You had them at ‘Hello.’
This is what Mr. Thompson thinks ALL the people in Connecticut want?
The truth is just the opposite, it does no good to call them, they won’t listen to any reasonable opposing suggestions. They feel there is only one way, their way or the highway.
They still haven’t listened long enough, the answer isn’t in a quick, ” lets do something, anything, just do it”. That’s still a knee jerk reaction.
Their minds are made up, no flexibility.

posted by: JH_1 | May 11, 2013  1:27am

When a democrat from California who owns guns admits that banning certain types of firearms does very little to improve public safety, it is further proof that an assault weapons ban is feel good legislation only and purely political.

And yet all gun control advocates always lead off with the assault weapons ban proposal.  It kind of takes away their credibility in my opinion.

I’m not saying solving gun violence isn’t important because it is, but do what works, not what is feel good legislation.

posted by: Joebigjoe | May 11, 2013  4:59pm

the real proof about the anti gun people is the response to the new Stag Arms prototype gun. Looks like an AR 15 but only shoots 22 caliber. Its all about looking menacing

posted by: Fisherman | May 12, 2013  10:04am

Mr. McQuaid:  A headline which reads: “Field Hearing Offers OPTIMISTIC View of Future Gun Control Efforts” displays a severe bias on your part.  CNJ readers expect professional, balanced news reporting. How about you try again; perhaps something like: “Future Gun Control Efforts Discussed at Field Hearing”? See? It’s balanced.

posted by: Christine Stuart | May 13, 2013  12:19am

Christine Stuart

I wrote the headline. It’s balanced because there were no other views offered at the hearing. The view that the people at the hearing offered was optimistic. Not sure how that’s not balanced.
Christine Stuart

posted by: Fisherman | May 13, 2013  7:22am

My apologies to Mr. McQuaid; as the article was indeed well-written.  I stand by headline comment; as “optimism” implies a preferred position or direction regarding a particular issue.

posted by: Joebigjoe | May 13, 2013  7:57am

Christine there were no other views offered at the hearing because my understanding is that people that are against this did not have the ability to speak. Is that not true? Was Kelly Ayotte invited, Ted Cruz, the NSSF, Gun Owners of America? I’m a private citizen and I would love to debate these people. However, I would get dragged out by police because I would answer every question they asked of me and I would not allow them to not answer my questions and get away with it.

posted by: ASTANVET | May 13, 2013  8:29am

These guys will NEVER STOP!  It is never enough, they will be relentless in their assault on private weapon ownership.  I have always said - allow me to live in peace they way I choose to live my life - and I will grant you that same consideration.  Friction comes from those on the left who think they ‘know better’ than us common folk.  Gun control is more about someone claiming moral superiority over another.  I just want to be left alone.  This gun control stuff is a continued provocation - I don’t know how you can feel morally superior when you are assaulting another individual’s rights.

posted by: Christine Stuart | May 13, 2013  8:59am

Christine Stuart

It’s called being a messenger and conveying information expressed by others. Why do you guys think everything has to do with the opinion of the reporter? There is no bias here. Period.

posted by: Joebigjoe | May 13, 2013  11:58am

Christine I am not saying that your headline is wrong or biased. They are having a meeting where alternative views apparently were not allowed, invited, or welcome. I think that’s the story and that’s the headline. I think some of us just get upset because some times maybe there should be more harsh headlines in all media as long as its accurate. I would feel the same way if a group of pro gun politicians and others met in a big meeting without allowing some debate from the other side. When i say more harsh but accurate if that happened the headline and story should be that “Pro gun politicans fly in from around country to meet, but don’t allow disenting opinion”

posted by: ASTANVET | May 13, 2013  1:46pm

Christine- I think people are just sensitive - I don’t see any bias, unless we are looking at the OP-ED’s - which are just that, Opinion.  While I feel out-gunned (pun intended) as a conservative in CT, I haven’t seen bias in your reporting, or on CTNJ.  For what it’s worth, from a conservative guy I think you’re doing a good job - I would like to see some point/counter point articles, but solely reporting the news as it occurs is fine.

posted by: Salmo | May 13, 2013  5:41pm

You want to talk about public safety? Just look to our north at Springfield, Massachusetts. In some parts of the city gang members riding motorcycles and sporting assault rifles are terrorizing a section of Springfield. One store owner was robbed over fifty times! This in a state that until just recently had the toughest gun control regulations in the nation! There is nothing to be feared from an armed citizenry. There never was.

posted by: Joebigjoe | May 13, 2013  7:12pm

An investment of 50 cents could solve so many of those issues in Springfield, Chicago, South central LA. Yeah, I know that sounds scary but 50 cents vs a hundred thousand dollars for jail, the other societal costs etc is a small price to pay.

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