The New York affiliate of the National Rifle Association (NRA) filed suit this week to contest the new strict gun control laws passed in the state. The law limits magazine size, bans assault weapons, and expands background checks. The NRA affiliate sites in its suit that the new “safe act” law violates the second amendment.
Aurora theater shooting survivor Stephen Barton joins the "Starting Point" to weigh in on the lawsuit, and the struggles passing gun control legislation in Congress. He is currently working with families affected by the Newtown shooting as part of his work with Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
“Gun laws have always been a patchwork of state laws that don't cover everything," Barton says. "But this is a national problem that applies to a national solution."
Barton says these new state laws can serve as a way for the country to see “what works” so that ultimately federal legislation can be passed. He feels we need to cut through our ideological differences on gun control, and find middle ground because new gun legislation “will save lives.”
He was present in New York City yesterday during Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Vice President Joe Biden’s speeches urging a vote on an assault weapons ban that is currently failing in Congress.
Barton says it is “not a surprise” that the assault weapons ban lacks support. He is still hopeful that the “people who have been affected most personally by gun violence at least deserve a vote on the floor of the Senate." He hopes this vote can be achieved by Senator Feinstein’s amendment being added to existing legislation.
A preliminary trial held Monday may shed more light on what happened the night of the Aurora movie theater massacre in July. The alleged shooter, James Holmes, is accused of killing 12 people and wounding at least 58 others.
Stephen Barton, 22, was one of the 58 wounded at the midnight showing of “The Dark Knight.” Barton, who was shot in the neck, joins “Starting Point” on Monday to discuss how he hopes gun policy in the U.S. will change following recent mass shootings.
“I think this is another terrible reminder of the failure of our gun policies in this country,” Barton says. “If you don’t have such easy access to assault rifles, then you don’t have these mass tragedies.”
The Aurora shooting survivor adds that he hopes the evidence presented in the preliminary hearing will provide more insight to what happened the night of July 20 and “what led (Holmes) to commit this crime.” The preliminary hearing will be an opportunity to hear what happened beyond “my own recollection," Barton says.
President Obama joined the Newtown, Connecticut community last night to comfort the families of the victims. He vowed to, “use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens from law enforcement, to mental health professionals, to parents and educators in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this.”
Steven Barton survived the Aurora, CO theatre shooting to see this tragic event in his own hometown. He says, “We have basically heard the same message after Aurora, after Tucson, and those words weren’t followed by any action. I mean, he spoke more forcefully last night, but it remains to be seen if anything will actually come of those words.”
Hit with 25 shotgun pellets in his face, neck, and chest, he now works as the Outreach and policy associate for Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
If he could begin the process today, Barton states he would start with background checks. “Currently 40% of guns sold in this country under federal law aren’t subject to a background check. There’s been a lot of talk about high cap magazines, assault weapons. But if you want to reduce the 34 Americans murdered with guns every single day, background checks are the easiest way to do that and the simplest way to do that,” he says.
A new television ad released Monday by “Mayors Against Illegal Guns” features a victim of the Aurora movie theater shooting, Stephen Barton, in an effort to draw attention to the issue of gun violence in the upcoming presidential debate in nearby Denver, Colorado. Barton, 22, sits down with Soledad O’Brien to discuss his recovery from the shooting and the new campaign to address the problem of gun violence in the United States.