WAMU 88.5 : News

Senate Votes To Open Gun Control Debate

Play associated audio
Gun control legislation has cleared the first hurdle in the U.S. Senate.
PGPD
Gun control legislation has cleared the first hurdle in the U.S. Senate.

Gun control legislation is now on the floor of the U.S. Senate and advocates say that's due to an intense lobbying effort by victims of gun violence.

All week long, families from Newtown, Conn., criss-crossed Capitol Hill begging senators to support the gun control measure. Erica Lafferty was one of those who lobbied Congress. Her mom Dawn Hochsprung was the principal of Sandy Hook who died protecting her students. On Capitol Hill, Lafferty explained that she was in Washington for her mother and the other victims.

"Their voices need to be heard and they're going to carry through us," Lafferty says.

A bipartisan group of sixty eight senators overcame an initial filibuster to keep the bill from being debated. Many observers on Capitol Hill doubted that a gun control measure could even make it this far. Connecticut Democratic Senator Chris Murphy says the presence of Newtown families and other victims of gun violence made the difference.

"These buildings are packed with families demanding change," Murphy says. "The NRA and the gun lobby groups are just vastly outnumbered in this debate for the first time in decades. That makes a difference."

But getting over the first procedural hurdle may have been the easy part for gun control advocates. Starting next week lawmakers will vote on bipartisan amendments to institute near universal background checks on gun purchases and to curb gun trafficking. They ll also vote on an assault weapons ban and a bill to limit magazine sizes  measures that are sure to rile the gun lobby.

Even so, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) says he isn't afraid of supporting those amendments.

"The NRA is headquartered in Virginia. I've run three statewide races. They've campaigned against me every time based on things like supporting background record checks," Kaine says. "They have not been able to beat me. They could beat me tomorrow, but if they were that powerful they would have already beat me."

The gun legislation could consume the Senate for the next two or three weeks. That means Capitol Hill will likely be teaming with lobbyists and victims alike, all clamoring for each senator's support.

NPR

When Caravaggio Plays Quevedo In Tennis, The Court Becomes A Sonnet

"It's a little space, well-measured and precise, in which you have to keep the ball bouncing," says Álvaro Enrigue. His book, Sudden Death, pits the Italian painter against the Spanish poet.
WAMU 88.5

Does "Made in DC" Matter?

D.C.'s first bean-to-bar chocolate maker, Undone Chocolate, got its start in local food incubator space Union Kitchen, part of a wave of interest in locally made products which includes a push for a "Made in DC" logo.

WAMU 88.5

Does "Made in DC" Matter?

D.C.'s first bean-to-bar chocolate maker, Undone Chocolate, got its start in local food incubator space Union Kitchen, part of a wave of interest in locally made products which includes a push for a "Made in DC" logo.

NPR

Password Security Is So Bad, President Obama Weighs In

In unveiling a sweeping plan to fund and revamp cybersecurity, the president asks citizens to consider using extra layers of security besides the password.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.