Updated 02/24/2011 01:10 PM
Schumer Joins Mayor In Effort To Toughen Gun Control Laws
In the wake of last month's deadly shooting in Arizona, Senator Charles Schumer and Mayor Bloomberg are throwing their support behind new gun control legislation whose passage in Washington is far from assured. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
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The numbers are bleak: every day 34 people in America are killed by guns. But Senator Charles Schumer and Mayor Michael Bloomberg hope to improve that staggering statistic with the passage of legislation they say is designed to prevent the next mass shooting.
"Americans want their government to take basic, common sense steps to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people," Bloomberg told reporters Wednesday.
The legislation that Schumer is introducing in Washington would impose tougher penalties on states that fail to report drug abusers, people with mental illnesses, and individuals with domestic violence records to the national do-not-sell list.
It would also require background checks for all gun buyers. Right now, they aren't mandatory for people purchasing guns at all gun show.
"Those who cannot responsibly own a gun shouldn't have access to a gun, it's that simple. We're not trying to expand the law of who should and should not have it. We're just trying to enforce the law that exists on the books," Schumer said.
Gun control advocates are using the example of the alleged gunman in last month's deadly shooting in Tuscon, Arizona to help make their case.
Jared Loughner was able to buy a gun despite the fact that he was rejected from the U.S. Army over his drug use. Officials at Loughner's college also raised concerns about his mental health.
"Americans understand that criminals, drug abusers and the mentally ill should simply not be able to get a gun," Schumer said.
Senator Schumer may have support for his legislation in New York City, but whether he'll be successful at winning over Congress is another question.
"Passing gun legislation, even modest legislation like this, is hard," said the senator.
The National Rifle Association wields tremendous power in Washington. Schumer also noted that gun enthusiasts are often more vocal than supporters of gun control.
The NRA did not respond to NY1's requests for comment on the proposed legislation.