Category: US Politics / February 27, 2013 4:19 PM EST
The United States Senate Judiciary committee held a hearing to debate the possibility of banning military-style assault weapons Wednesday. (February 27)
The proposal comes in the wake the Newtown, Connecticut shooting where 20 children and 6 adults were killed by an assailant using an assault weapon with high capacity magazines.
Gun-control efforts face an uphill battle against a powerful pro-gun lobby and a strong U.S. tradition of hunting and gun ownership. The right to bear arms is guaranteed to Americans in the U.S. Constitution.
Critics of the proposal say it is an attack the second amendment, something Milwaukee, Wisconsin Police Chief Ed Flynn, also of the Police Executive Research Forum, claims is misguided.
"This bill does not take guns out of the hands of Americans, it does not strip them of them second amendment rights, in fact if we want to be intellectually honest the issues raised here have more to do with commerce than they do with the second amendment. A lot of people make a lot of money selling arms and ammunition. This isn't inherently a bad thing but it can tempt to search for a grasp for false logic," Flynn said.
Senator Lindsay Graham, a republican from South Carolina, questioned how effective the assault weapons ban would be.
"How many crimes are committed by rifles in terms of homicides in the United States? What percentage of homicides were committed by rifles? Either one of you know?" Graham asked Flynn and United States Attorney John Walsh, who was representing the Department of Justice at the Hearing.
"In 2011 it was 2.5 percent of U.S. homicides were committed by a rifle of any type. Twice as many people were killed with bare hands," Graham said, answering his own question.
The proposed ban on assault weapons makes up one of the four gun-control bills, all of which are likely to be approved by the Democrat-led Judiciary Committee and be considered by the full Senate as early as Thursday, according to congressional aides.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada, will decide how to package the measures for a vote on the Senate floor.
Video Source: Reuters