Democratic Senator: I’m Not Interested In An Assault Weapons Ban
Alaska Senator Mark Begich is one of seven Democratic Senators up for re-election in 2014 who hail from states that Mitt Romney won last November so, it’s not surprising that his enthusiasm for gun control legislation isn’t very high:
Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, expressed skepticism of gun control measures reported to be under consideration by the Obama administration in a Thursday phone call with members of the media.
The Washington Post reported last Saturday that a working group on gun violence led by Vice President Joe Biden “is seriously considering measures backed by key law enforcement leaders that would require universal background checks for firearm buyers, track the movement and sale of weapons through a national database, strengthen mental health checks, and stiffen penalties for carrying guns near schools or giving them to minors.”
Asked which gun control measures he would support, Begich said, “I’m not supporting anything at this point, and I want to see what those recommendations are.”
Begich continued, “We have to be very careful that we don’t jump to the clamor of emotion. … I don’t believe that we just need to pile on new laws and suddenly that solves all the problems.”
Mental health is also a key consideration in averting incidents like the Newtown, Conn., school shooting that claimed 27 lives on Dec. 14, 2012, Begich said.
“We have to look at the broader picture,” Begich concluded. “So I’d be very cautious about any new laws.”
Responding to another question about whether he would support a renewal of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which outlawed the manufacture of several types of semiautomatic firearms for civilian use from 1994 to 2004, Begich said he is “not interested.”
This is the political reality that I referred to yesterday. In addition to the rather obvious fact of a Republican House, there are many Red State Democrats like Begich, including as noted above seven of them who are up for re-election in 2014, for whom gun control issues could become a serious complication in a General Election. This is why one can expect whatever does come out of Congress on this issue to be far less sweeping than gun control proponents hope and gun rights supporters fear.