In the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Friday, the debate about gun control is resurfacing in Washington. The topic is one our local lawmakers have grappled with in the past, especially following the D.C. sniper shootings a decade ago, and the mass shooting at Virginia Tech in 2007. David Hawkings, editor of the CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing, joins WAMU 88.5 to talk about the issue.
On Virginia Rep. Gerry Connolly calling on lawmakers to close the so-called gun show loophole and set up strict background checks for gun buyers: "I think it's becoming increasingly likely by the minute that there will be some serious evaluation. Even in the last few minutes, another lawmaker from the fringes of our area, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who describes himself as a lifelong member of the National Rifle Association, said that he wanted to open negotiations with the NRA about coming up with a deal to allow more gun control.... So this is sort of a breakthrough. This is pretty big news in Congress that Joe Manchin would say this. I would expect that you'll see some other NRA members follow his lead later today."
On Obama using his executive power to prevent tragedies like the one in Newtown: "We've got hints of from the White House that even before the election, the Justice Department was working on a roster of steps that the President could take on his own, using the power of his office — the executive power — to tighten existing regulations or improving existing regulations. That sounded to me like what the President was hinting at last night in his speech in Connecticut when we said he would use all of his available powers."
On the fiscal cliff and the latest progress on negotiations: "There was some progress over the weekend. It seems like Speaker Boehner made another move... allowed his revenue target to go up to a trillion dollars, suggested he was open to allowing income tax rates to go up on people who make more than a million dollar... also suggested some changes to entitlements. There's still time for a deal. It is getting pretty close to the end."