WAMU 88.5 : News

With Gun Control Measures Unlikely, Congress Turns Focus To Contractors

In the wake of this week’s shooting at the Navy Yard some lawmakers in the region are renewing their push for new gun control measures. But while that effort is unlikely to go anywhere, there seems to be bipartisan agreement the Pentagon needs to review the access it grants contractors.

After last year's Newtown, Conn. school shooting, Capitol Hill witnessed its first real debate on gun control in decades. That effort to implement near universal background checks fell six votes short, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says this week’s shooting in D.C. hasn’t changed the math—so he isn’t bringing it up for another vote.

Still, Virginia Democratic Senator Tim Kaine says there will be more mass shootings if lawmakers do nothing.

“There are commonsense things we can do that don’t infringe on anybody’s Second Amendment rights that will make us safer. This place has perfected a million reasons not to do anything. And the lack of action, we’re just going to see more of these and there’s going to be more of them, and eventually then we’ll get tired enough to act. Why not act sooner rather than later?”, he asked.

The alleged Navy Yard shooter worked for a private contractor and gained access using a valid security badge. Between that and the recent leak of a highly classified surveillance program by N.S.A. contractor Edward Snowden, Kaine says lawmakers need to reexamine the access granted to contractors.

“We’re really troubled. When you look at a Snowden and then you look at this—obviously very different kinds of things—but instances of folks with security clearances doing horrible things. It does raise a very significant concern," he said.

The Pentagon is preparing to conduct a review of the physical security structures at military bases, though D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton is calling for an independent Investigative panel to conduct a review of the shooting.

NPR

Writer James Alan McPherson, Winner Of Pulitzer, MacArthur And Guggenheim, Dies At 72

McPherson, the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, has died at 72. His work explored the intersection of white and black lives with deftness, subtlety and wry humor.
NPR

Oyster Archaeology: Ancient Trash Holds Clues To Sustainable Harvesting

Modern-day oyster populations in the Chesapeake are dwindling, but a multi-millennia archaeological survey shows that wasn't always the case. Native Americans harvested the shellfish sustainably.

WAMU 88.5

Your Turn: Ronald Reagan's Shooter, Freddie Gray Verdicts And More

Have opinions about the Democratic National Convention, or the verdicts from the Freddie Gray cases? It's your turn to talk.

NPR

Writing Data Onto Single Atoms, Scientists Store The Longest Text Yet

With atomic memory technology, little patterns of atoms can be arranged to represent English characters, fitting the content of more than a billion books onto the surface of a stamp.

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