Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday claimed it would be Constitutional to outlaw numerous guns, ammunition and magazines if their restrictive new measures moving through Congress are passed into law.
‚??The Second Amendment is secure and will remain secure and protected,‚?Ě said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee during a standing room only hearing.
Leahy and California Democrat Dianne Feinstein are pushing new measures to restrict such purchases and extend the purview of government officials to conduct background checks.
President Barack Obama has already put into motion 23 executive actions to limit gun ownership without consent from Congress. Feinstein‚??s bill goes even further, seeking to ban more than 100 random guns collected by gun owners.
‚??No one can or will take those rights or our guns away,‚?Ě Leahy said. ‚??Second Amendment rights are the foundation on which our discussion rests. They are not at risk. But lives are at risk when responsible people fail to stand up for laws that will keep guns out of the hands of those who will use them to commit mass murder.‚?Ě
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the committee‚??s ranking Republican, defended gun owners and took aim at arguments by some on the left that certain magazines should be outlawed because only hunters should have guns and don‚??t need multiple rounds of ammunition.
‚??We hear that no one needs to carry larger magazines than those that hunters use to shoot dear,‚?Ě Grassley said. ‚??But an attacking criminal, unlike a deer, shoots back.‚?Ě
Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a Democrat from Arizona and a victim of a shooting in Tucson in 2011, opened the hearing calling for gun control to protect children.
‚??Violence is a big problem, too many children are dying,‚?Ě Giffords said. ‚??We must do something. It will be hard, but the time is now. You must act. Be bold and courageous, Americans are counting on you.‚?Ě
The mortality rate for children of homicides with a gun was 2.7 percent, according to national child morality data from 2007, the last year the data was available. Comparatively, the rate of death from natural causes was 44 percent, and the rate of death from vehicle accidents was 8 percent. For unintentional injuries, the rate of death from firearms was 0.2 percent, from drowning was 1.3 percent, fire was 0.7 percent, poisoning was 1.2 percent and suffocation was 1.5 percent.
The rush to limit gun owner rights follows on the tragic shooting in Newtown, Conn. where 20 children and six teachers were killed in December. Despite the rush to legislate against future tragedies, the police investigation of the incident is not expected to be completed until June.
Wayne LaPierre, vice president of the National Rifle Association, told the panel that efforts should be focused on making schools more secure.
‚??It‚??s time to throw an immediate blanket of security around our children,‚?Ě LaPierre said. ‚??About a third of our schools have armed security already, because it works.‚?Ě