Reacting to the assassination attempt on one of their own, two House members on Monday said they will introduce legislation that would ban certain ammunition clips and make it illegal to threaten a federal official, both of which they say contributed to the mass casualties in a shooting rampage in Tuscson over the weekend.
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., plans to introduce a bill that would ban high-capacity ammunition clips like the one used by Jared Loughner, the gunman accused of killing 6 and injuring 14, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., as they gathered at a “Congress on Your Corner” event.
And Rep. Robert Brady, D-Pa., will introduce legislation that would make it illegal to uses threatening words or symbols or incite violence against a lawmaker or federal official.
Among the symbols Brady seeks to ban was one posted on the Internet by former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin that showed Democratic congressional districts, including Giffords’, with the crosshairs of a rifle scope superimposed over them.
“I want to protect our congresspeople in a way that they can’t put a crosshair on us, they can’t put a bullseye on us, no matter who does it,” Brady said Monday on Fox News.
McCarthy’s bill would target the 30-round clip Loughner used in a Glock 19 handgun. The high-capacity clips were once banned by the federal Assault Weapon Ban, which expired in 2004 and was never renewed by Congress because of intense partisan politics and lawmakers’ reluctance to take up gun restrictions when facing reelection.
But McCarthy aides say that while she wants to ban the larger clips, McCarthy is not insisting that gun clips be limited to the 10-bullet limit imposed by the Assault Weapon Ban.
“We are not married to the previous limit,” her spokesman, Shams Tarek, told The Washington Examiner. “We are working on language that is reasonable and makes sense and has a possibility of passing.”
While gun control issues are virtually impossible to push through Congress, McCarthy, whose husband was killed in a 1993 mass shooting on the Long Island Railroad, had some success when, in 2007, she passed a measure beefing up criminal background checks for some gun buyers.
That bill passed just after the mass shooting at Virginia Tech that left 32 people dead. Gun control advocates are hoping momentum from the Tucson shooting will help pass her new proposal.
“It’s going to be critical to take these things up very quickly,” said Ladd Everitt, spokesman for Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. “It’s very possible Republicans would like to run out the clock on this, but this is not going to leave the news and it is not going to leave the hearts and minds of America. We are hoping that will generate action.”
Gun-rights groups said they believe McCarthy’s bill is unlikely to pass in a House controlled by Republicans.
“These reactions are as predictable as vultures circling carrion,” Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, said of McCarthy’s bill.