Gun Control Proposals and the Second Amendment

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sign in Newtown, Conn., after the mass shooting in December at Sandy Hook Elementary School. (Ilya Marritz)

Since the shooting that left twenty children and 7 adults dead in Newtown, Connecticut last Friday, members of Congress from across the political spectrum have proposed new gun control legislation. Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia and a lifelong member of the NRA who shot a rifle in his 2010 campaign ad, told MSNBC's Morning Joe that he would support an assault weapons ban. 

"I like shooting, but this doesn’t make sense," Manchin explained. "I don’t know anyone in the sporting and hunting arena who goes out with an assault rifle. I don’t know anyone who needs 30 rounds in the clip to go hunting."

Manchin continued: "Seeing the massacre of so many innocent children has changed everything. Everything has to be on the table."

“I want to call all our friends at the NRA and sit down,” Manchin said. “They have to be at the table. This is a time for all of us to sit down and move in a responsible manner. I think they will.”
Manchin said it was crucial to involve the NRA in the conversation. “You have to have everybody at the table, not just the people you think will support this. I’m a lifetime [NRA] member and I’m willing to sit down and ask all of my colleagues to sit down.”
Manchin has voted in support of many pro-gun laws, earning the NRA’s endorsement for his recent reelection.
“Seeing the massacre of so many innocent children has changed everything,” he said. “Everything has to be on the table.”

In addition to renewing the assault weapons ban, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a longtime gun control advocate, has called for closing the gun show loophole, for mental health background checks on gun purchasers, and other measures. 

President Obama and Congress have yet to introduce formal gun control legislation, but how would the ideas on the table fit into Supreme Court decisions regarding the Second Amendment? 

Adam Liptak, Supreme Court reporter for Takeaway partner The New York Times, believes that the Supreme Court's ruling in the 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller case allows for many of the new gun control measures proposed since the Newtown shooting. Liptak writes that, according to most legal scholars, "The main obstacles to the passage of such measures is likely to be politics, not constitutional law."

Guests:

Adam Liptak

Produced by:

Jillian Weinberger

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