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January 16th, 2013
11:54 AM ET

Rep. Duckworth: Let's stay calm on gun control, but 'you don't need an AR-15 to go to target practice'

Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) weighs in on possible gun control measures to lower gun violence.

Filed under: Gun control • Gun violence
January 16th, 2013
10:45 AM ET

Rep. Forbes on possible gun control measures: We need to make sure we're not jeopardizing people's rights

This morning on "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien," Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA) shares his opinion of appropriate gun control measures in advance of President Obama's proposal.

"We want to make sure that people don't commit crimes," Rep. Forbes says. "We need to do the analysis but we need to make sure that we're not doing stuff in there that are going to jeopardize people's rights."

Transcript available after the jump.


Filed under: Gun control • Gun violence
January 15th, 2013
11:23 AM ET

Rep. Walden on possible gun control measures: 'Certainly, we don't want firearms in the hands of people who are criminally insane'

Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) weighs in on what should be done to enforce gun control and reduce gun violence.

Filed under: Gun control • Gun violence
January 15th, 2013
09:04 AM ET

Rep. Thompson: 'We need to prioritize gun control,' lists actions Obama administration could take immediately to curb gun violence


(CNN) – Vice President Joe Biden's package of proposals on gun control – collected after meetings with various constituencies, including gun rights groups, retailers, and video game manufacturers – combines both "administrative actions" that the White House can take unilaterally and measures that will be presented to lawmakers in Congress, according to Democratic lawmakers who met with Biden this week.

The collection of measures includes 19 steps President Barack Obama can take himself using executive action, according to Rep. Jackie Speier, a member of the Democratic gun violence task force that met with Biden Monday.

"He didn't go into all of them," Speier said on CNN's "Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin." "Certainly they will be considered by the president."

Rep. Mike Thompson, who chaired the Democratic gun task force that met with Biden, detailed some of what the vice president's package contains on Tuesday's "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien" on CNN.

"We met with the vice president yesterday, and the vice president said we need a comprehensive package to put an end or help put an end to the gun violence," Thompson said. "Congress is going to be important. It's going to be a cooperative effort with the two branches of government."

The "administrative actions" which Thompson said Obama could begin pursuing immediately include appointing a director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which has been without a permanent chief for six years. The acting director, B. Todd Jones, also serves as the U.S. attorney in Minnesota.

Thompson said Obama could also demand federal agencies provide data for background checks that are supposed to accompany gun sales, ensuring the information included in the checks is as "comprehensive and complete as possible."

Obama has not ruled out issuing executive orders on some gun control measures to enforce laws already on the books, such as bolstering the way gun sales are tracked. At a news conference Monday, Obama reiterated his desire for more robust background checks for gun buyers, keeping high capacity magazines away from criminals, and a ban on assault weapons.

READ MORE: Details of Biden gun package emerge

Filed under: Gun control • Gun violence
January 14th, 2013
11:47 AM ET

Families gather to support Newtown residents on one month anniversary after Sandy Hook Elementary shooting

On Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden's gun violence task force is expected to make its recommendations to President Barack Obama. This will come a day after the one month mark after the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Newtown, CT.

Today, a group of Newtown residents called "Sandy Hook Promise" plan to unveil a national grass-roots initiative to reduce gun violence. The group will be joined by families of victims and survivors of other shootings.

This includes the parents of Christina-Taylor Green who was killed while attending Fmr. Congresswoman Gabby Gifford's "Congress on Your Corner" event. Her mother Roxanna Green started a foundation to honor her daughter's memory and has also done some work with the group “Mayors Against Illegal Guns.”

This morning, Green joins “Starting Point” to discuss the one-month marking of the Newtown shooting and what can be done to reduce gun violence.

Filed under: Gun violence • Newtown • Sandy Hook Elementary
January 9th, 2013
10:49 AM ET

Virginia Tech victim Colin Goddard says an overwhelming majority of Americans want commonsense changes to our gun policy

The NRA has announced it will participate in a meeting this week with Vice President Joe Biden's gun violence task force. The Vice President will also hold meetings with victims groups, gun safety organizations and representatives of the entertainment and video game industries. One person who will be attending the meetings is Virginia Tech survivor Colin Goddard. Goddard who was shot four times during the rampage is now the assistant director of federal legislation for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. He joins “Starting Point” this morning to weigh in on the upcoming gun violence meetings.

Goddard says his “job is to represent the voice of the overwhelming majority of Americans… that want some comprehensive, commonsense changes to our gun policy.” He adds that the focus on gun legislation moving forward should not just be on “the last major shooting but…the 32 Americans…who are murdered with guns every single day.”

Morning panelist, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) disagrees. Johnson says he is not sure where Goddard sees evidence regarding the majority of Americans wanting reform to gun policy. Johnson adds the people of Wisconsin who he represents and others “really want to protect gun rights and they realize it’s a second amendment right.”

Goddard says, “There are common ground solutions that respect the second amendment but also make it more difficult for dangerous people to get their hand on a gun in the first place…like a background check.” He says background checks should be conducted on everyone mainly because “40% of gun sales every year in this country go unchecked – that’s just bad policy. That doesn’t stop a law abiding citizen from owning a gun, they’ll pass that background check every time but somebody with a history of mental illness, somebody with a domestic violence restraining order, somebody with a felony record – they need to get checked otherwise you’ll never know about that.”

Goddard who still has three bullets logged in his body agrees the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut was the “tipping point for a lot of people.” He says phones in his Washington office are constantly ringing “off the hook.” He adds, “our activists out in the field across the country are getting so many new members saying ‘I just can’t keep watching these things and not do something about it.’ I think there were multiple factors that played into this but I’ve seen overwhelming support for something to be done.” The 2008 Virginia Tech graduate concludes by saying the meetings on Capitol Hill are very encouraging and urges all Americans to “please keep this up – we’re going to get this done.”

Filed under: Gun control • Gun violence • Guns • Politics
January 2nd, 2013
10:05 AM ET

Lawyer Irving Pinsky explains why he withdrew his Sandy Hook lawsuit petition following Newtown shooting

An attorney in Connecticut has withdrawn a request to sue the state for $100 million in the wake of the Sandy Hook School shooting after facing strong disapproval from people across the country. The New Haven attorney represents the family of a six-year-old girl who witnessed and survived the shooting. The lawyer says the state failed to take steps to protect the children from harm. After this statement Pinsky received a flurry of comments on his Facebook page blasting the lawsuit and accusing him and his client of trying to profit from last month's tragedy. This morning the attorney Irving Pinsky joins “Starting Point” to discuss why he dropped the suit and his plans to file again sometime within the year.

Regarding the outpour of disapproval on filing the lawsuit Pinsky says, “It’s a natural reaction to get that backlash.” He adds that he was doing his job which is to save the evidence and that he “can’t wait for the attorney general to get their evidence or the police to get their evidence. As a lawyer I’m looking for different evidence then they are. So I had to go in early and that was not made clear to the public because there’s so much of the fog of disaster.” On the topic of where the backlash was stemming from Pinsky says, “I didn’t have any problem with the people of Newtown… but out of 340 million people in this country if that you’re going to have all kinds of people including some crazy people who are going to start issuing death threats left and right” and labeling him a “greedy lawyer.”

Legally Pinsky says “this shouldn’t happen. A crazy young gunman shouldn’t be able to walk into a school and start doing this over and over and over.” While it has been reported that the shooter shot through the glass to gain entry to the school, Pinksy argues the glass was supposed to be bulletproof. Pinksy adds, “It had to be assumed that this was going to happen eventually somewhere.” He goes on to say, “I cannot tell you for sure at this point…I cannot tell you beyond a reasonable doubt…that this would have happened or should have happened or they should have known.” He says regardless his job is to follow the evidence, “authenticate it, make sure it credible…and if the evidence shows that there’s no case – I don’t bring a case.”

Pinsky says his mission now is to “stop this from happening again,” although he says it is going to happen again even though he does not want to admit it. He says his lawsuit aids the process to “get higher standards for security in the schools.”

Filed under: Gun control • Gun violence • Guns • Sandy Hook • Sandy Hook Elementary
December 28th, 2012
09:05 AM ET

Utah Shooting Sports Council Chairman Clark Aposhian & Teacher Kasey Hansen on free shooting lessons for Utah teachers

It's been two weeks since a gunman broke into Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed 26 teachers and students. The nation continues to mourn, and since then, there's been an ongoing debate about how to prevent another tragedy from happening. Some have even suggested arming teachers to combat violence in schools.

Teachers in West Valley City, Utah are taking this suggestion seriously. They were being taught how to properly handle a gun, among other lessons, in a six-hour seminar yesterday. The course was free and made possible by Clark Aposhian. Aposhian is the Chairman of the Utah Shooting Sports Council and has trained teachers how to use guns in Utah in the past. Kasey Hansen is a special education teacher who trained to use a gun at Clark's class. They both join “Starting Point” live from Salt Lake City with more.

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Filed under: Gun control • Gun violence • Guns • Training
December 27th, 2012
10:26 AM ET

Blogger publishes journalists’ home addresses after N.Y. paper posts map of gun permit owners' addresses

A New York based newspaper has sparked outrage this morning after its decision to publish a map pinpointing the addresses of people with gun permits. Published in The Journal News, which is based in White Plains, New York, the map shows homes where public records indicate someone living there holds a gun permit. It was part of an article called "The Gun Owner Next Door," and the newspaper says the information shown came from public records. It has readers online furious. Blogger Christopher Fountain is one of those readers, and he decided to strike back by posting the home address of most of the leadership and staff of The Journal News.

Fountain, who is a gun owner, says that The Journal News defended publishing the gun permit owners' addresses for safety purposes, but Fountain disagrees with the correlation between gun ownership and gun violence. He tells "Starting Point" that he decided to post the journalists' information because he felt that the newspaper "was bullying gun owners by conflating ... West Chester County gun owners with a horrible incident in Newtown, Connecticut ... one has nothing to do with the other." He adds, "I felt that they were using this to harass gun owners ... so I harassed them back."

Fountain's blog, "For What It's Worth", can be found at

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Filed under: Article • blog • Connecticut shooting • Gun control • Gun violence • Guns • harassment • Newtown • Sandy Hook • Shooting
December 24th, 2012
09:45 AM ET

Virginia State Delegate Bob Marshall on his proposal to arm teachers in schools

National Rifle Association head Wayne LaPierre is not giving any ground on his controversial statement after the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Lapierre said that gun control measures would not do anything to prevent mass shootings like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary that resulted in the death of 20 children and six adults. On Friday the National Rifle Association launched a program that seeks to install armed police officers that would be stationed at schools across the country. LaPierre is not the only one who supports arming adults in schools. This morning Virginia State Delegate Bob Marshall joins “Starting Point” to discuss proposal that would require some teachers or other staffers to carry concealed weapons in schools.

Marshall says the requirement is not as simple as a call for teachers or administrators to carry guns but rather an opportunity “for public school divisions to offer such training to people who want to receive such training.” Marshall adds that he has received requests via email from school teachers, administrators and principals around the world from public schools in Virginia who are asking for the training.

Marshall goes on to say that he feels thankful that police are there to react to school shootings but he thinks “individuals who are already certified to carry” a concealed weapon should be allowed to carry a gun on school grounds. He adds that his bill is not a requirement but rather an option for those who want to carry a gun and who have received the necessary four week training.

Filed under: Gun control • Gun violence • Guns • Newtown
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