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NE: Capitol Hill Nebraskans holding fire on gun talk

By   /   December 17, 2012  /   News  /   27 Comments

By Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog

REMEMBERING: A woman puts a photo of a child on a makeshift memorial in the Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Conn., as the town mourns victims killed in a school shooting. (AP photo)

In the aftermath of Friday’s school massacre in Connecticut, Nebraska’s Capitol Hill class of 2013 is not talking about the politics of gun rights, at least not yet.

Contacted by Nebraska Watchdog, U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns and U.S. Reps. Lee Terry and Adrian Smith said their prayers were with the victims’ families.

In statements issued late Friday, Smith and Terry added this was not the time for “political debate” on gun control.

During a Sunday night vigil at Newtown High School, President Obama, who did not mention the word gun during his 18-minute speech, said he would use “whatever power this office holds” to enact changes aimed at preventing future mass killings.

“Can we honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep our children, all of them, safe from harm?” Obama asked. “If we’re honest with ourselves, the answer’s no. We’re not doing enough. And we will have to change.”

Earlier Sunday, Connecticut U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent who just weeks ago was campaigning for Bob Kerrey’s ill-fated Senate bid, told Fox News that military-style assault weapons should be banned. Lieberman also called for a national commission on gun violence.

U.S. Sen-elect Deb Fischer, who beat Kerrey, has not responded to questions about gun law changes that might be coming from the White House.

During the campaign, Fischer, a Republican, proudly noted her support for the Second Amendment and her vote in the Nebraksa Legislature that helped pass the 2005 law allowing Nebraskans to carry concealed handguns.

Also during the campaign, when asked by Nebraska Watchdog which Senate Democrats she could work with, Fischer named West Virginia’s Joe Manchin.

Early Monday, Manchin, who has an A rating from the National Rifle Association and was endorsed by the NRA when he ran for re-election, said it was time to “move beyond rhetoric” on gun control. Manchin did not say what specific restrictions he would support.

One of the few pro-gun rights’ activists on Capitol Hill taking the national stage on the debate during the weekend was U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, RTexas.

In an interview on Fox News Sunday, Gohmert upped the ante on concealed weapons arguing that the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary School, who according to police died trying to stop the killer, would have had a fighting chance if she’d been armed.

“I wish to God she had had an M-4 in her office, locked up so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out and she didn’t have to lunge heroically with nothing in her hands. But she takes him (the shooter) out, takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids,” Gohmert said.

Contact Joe Jordan at [email protected]

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Joe formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.

  • racefish

    I thought the Brady Laws were supposed to stop all the gun violence. Seems we were right after all. I think Morgan Freeman had it right;

    You can help by forgetting you ever read this man’s name, and
    remembering the name of at least one victim. You can help by donating to
    mental health research instead of pointing to gun control as the
    problem. You can help by turning off the news.

  • Les_R

    The Morgan Freeman quote is a hoax. I’m not saying I don’t agree, but he is not the person that said that. It’s been attributed to him in other shootings too. No one knows where it started.

  • I agree that this is not the time for political debate on gun control and mental health. It would be compassionate to allow some time for the country to grieve over the loss at Sandy Hook School before jumping to defend our constitutional right to own and bear arms. More citizens lose their lives from drivers who drive drunk yet there is never a call to ban vehicles or alcohol. Mentally ill have microwaved their babies yet there is no call to ban microwaves or thrown their babies from upper story buildings yet no call to ban buildings with more than one story or no call to ban knives – there is no call to ban any other weapon of choice by killers. If just one of the staff had at the least a can of pepper spray it may just have given them enough time to either collectively take the guy down or get the children out of the school. It is most important to remember why the founding fathers included gun rights in the Constitution.

  • Assault weapons must be banned. Stricter vetting must be implemented when purchasing a weapon. No more immediate sales at gun shows. If you can’t agree with that, you shouldn’t be in possession of a gun. It will change in spite of you fanatics. You can’t stop it.

  • ProgessiveOasis

    Let’s take a really different approach to stopping mass shootings by young mentally disturbed young men. Let’s develop a huge multimedia campaign to promote cutting edge virtual reality centers in which these unfixable individuals can terminate themselves after indulging their psychotic urges to the fullest. Let’s make online “heroes” of these wackjobs so they can be promoted to others of similar bent can self-identify and voluntarily present themselves for “the ultimate experience”. Society benefits from their permanent removal without the required real tragedy. This is the ultimate expression of the “pro-choice” philosophy. Let’s just use the immense power of multimedia to enable their speedy and voluntary departure.

  • Joan

    Racefish…Out of site, out of mind does not work. Donating to mental health research is not the answer. Nebraska use to have tremendous mental health facilities and provided great care for their mentally ill citizens but the Republican Party has managed to cut funds for same to mime a mere image of same across the country. The Brady Bill expired in 2004 I believe and was not renewed. The bill was not designed to stop all violence but to help get asault weapons off the street. Unfortunately we have a major loop hole in gun laws. You can go to a gun show and buy a gun without a back ground check.

  • Jazzee

    Why is no one discussing the DruGS all of these boys were on from columbine on down???? The babies are not even buried yet and here we go with ban guns..please here is another idea: Let’s tactically train ALL teachers who want to be and allow them to have guns, pepper spray and tasers in their schools…..some will allow them to slow the process down and guns may allow them to kill the shooter before he kills/injures more
    ALSO where is the rush to BAN video games…you know the ones you get points for after killing someone like a soldier, cop, etc.?????????????????? how about going after them?????? this is not a simple issue
    take the dang gun free zone signs down, arm who wants to be with whatever weapon they are comfortable with in the schools, go after the video games and golly ‘educate’ the parents about those games of murder
    and one more thing
    obama said ‘we need to protect our children’
    this from the man who voted to NOT allow aborted babies who lived medical care………………wow this man is crying and telling us what to do? he is mentally unbalanced

  • Jazzee

    seriously??? how about a vehicle? 6000 pound weapon???? this is NOT a one issue problem………….

  • Franklyn Fahrkwhar

    Assault weapons are designed for one puropse only: to kill people. To kill as many people as possible with a simple squeeze of a trigger. Cars are not designed to kill people, nor are microwave ovens or buildings. Nobody ever committed mass murder of little children with a microwave oven. Ban assault weapons. Now.

  • Mrs. V.


  • Watching_From_Lincoln

    Susan, sticking your head in the sand (or any other convenient orifice) is not the answer. You give the examples of an ignorant person, but that’s ok because you represent an ignorant ideology. If they banned ignorance and stupidity, you and others who think like you would still continue to exist as long as you continued to breed.

    The 2nd Amendment does NOT grant citizens the right to own assault-style weapons, in fact the intent of the 2nd Amendment was to allow for Citizen Militias, ie: National Guard, at the State Level to offset the possibility of a centralized military, such as that of King George’s British Army was against the colonists, being used by the US Federal Government against the citizens of the US. In fact, it wasn’t until the Supreme Court was stacked 5-4 Conservative in the 1990’s that the 2nd Amendment was interpreted to mean that gun ownership was a virtually unrestricted right.

    Now IS the time to have a meaningful, serious discussion and laws enacted to remove semi-automatic assault-style weapons and large capacity magazines from being available to the public. Close the gun show loophole for purchase. Enact and enforce stringent background and waiting period laws Nationally.

    I don’t say these things flippantly. I spent sixteen years as an Army Officer. I am extremely proficient with a wide range and variety of firearms. I have hunted in the past and can say this with total conviction: AR-15/SKS/AK-47/MP-10 type weapons are NOT for “hunting”, they are barely legal civilianized versions of combat assault weapons – and as such are designed with only one purpose – to kill people. Furthermore, NO real hunter needs a 20 or 30 round magazine when they go hunting. A bolt action rifle with five rounds is more than plenty when hunting. One shot – one kill. I can (and have) drop a deer from 400 yards with open sights with one shot. I take three shotgun shells with me when hunting pheasant – three’s the daily limit and again, one shot one kill – if I can’t hit a moving target from 40-50 yards with a shotgun I shouldn’t be out hunting.

    Just because somebody has the “right” to own a deadly weapon does NOT mean they possess the responsibility to do so, as evidenced by what we know so far from reliable media sources (NOT Fox News) about the Newtown shooter’s mother and the weapons she kept in her house.

  • Watching_From_Lincoln

    Bush the Lesser’s Republican Party pushed by the Gun Manufacturers lobby and its partner, the NRA, allowed the assault rifle ban, along with other provisions under the Brady Bill, to expire in 2004.

  • Watching_From_Lincoln

    Good points, Franklyn, and a great refuting of very shallowly thought out points that sound like they were taken straight from Rush or Fox News. And Susan Smith wonders why she had her *ss handed to her when she ran against Ernie Chambers and Brenda Council. Think it’s because the people in that district knew how bat-shit crazy Susan is?

  • Watching_From_Lincoln

    No, but you are.

  • Watching_From_Lincoln

    Let’s test it out on you first to see if your theories are right???

  • Watching_From_Lincoln

    You’re right, it’s many issues – almost all caused directly or indirectly by the far-right and their worship of the Industrial-Military Complex and large amounts of lobbying money.

  • BlueReview

    How many more children have to die before it’s “the right time”? “My God,” someone on FOX “News” said, “the bodies haven’t even been taken out of the building!”

    But they’re missing the point–that once again, there are bodies to be taken out.

  • Joan

    What can one say, Rep Terry has nothing to say on the issue of gun control just like he will not vote for the extention of the Violence Against Women Act. Lets see what are the stats on guns and women harmed by same but who values having his access to guns more? Lee Terry. Then there is our newly elected Senator Ms Fischer who was bought and paid for by the NRA and the ever so popular Koch brothers. She of course has no comment, would rather not let our true colors show Deb?

  • Joan

    “voted to NOT allow” you are bat sh*t crazy! The President of this country NEVER, EVER said this. But why don’t you start a movement to have zygotes sign living wills as to if they want to be put on life support or not.

  • Jazzee

    the far right caused all the problems? seriously?? who is murdering people (women/children) by drone kill lists every day eh?????

  • Jazzee

    how about arming teachers/admin with tasers?? pepper spray and those that want trained with guns???? how about we look at all the violent videos and movies?? points to kill on videos? where is the outrage for all that garbage???? oh and yes DRUGS given to those boys……how about let’s discuss them????? It’s not a GUN issue…….law abiding people don’t take their guns and kill others……the bad guys do all the time and never hear a word from you…4 kids shot dead in chicago this weekend adn 12 injured not a word is said…..bad guy GUNS not the good GUYS………………please wake up and see what this is all really about…..

  • ProgressiveOasis

    Seriously? Just how do you propose to “fix” individuals who are unfixable Watching? Getting rid of assault rifles won’t be enough…two semi-auto pistols he was carrying would have done about the same with a few extra magazines. So you’re going to ban those too? Where does it stop? Why not consider making it legal and attractive for these terminally demented folks to self-terminate without harm to others??? Do you actually think that “thing” from Aurora will ever be safe to release from prison? Why should anyone have to pay to keep him around and healthy for decades?

  • Ivy Marie Harper

    Ivy Marie Harper

    Nebraska’s Congressional Delegation: Not a single “Profile in Courage.”

    The Cornhusker Quintet – obviously – is siding with the NRA + “mum’s” their word.

    Pathetic, really, because the whole point of electing “leaders” is so that they – on occasion – lead on something more serious than self-serving fencing disputes, rare “Acorn” employee actions, cell phone stuff, puff-piece “Fort”unate Reports” and then there’s Rep. Adrian Smith who calls to mind absolutely nada.

  • Pat Boyle

    Guns don’t save people, people save people.

  • Jazzee

    I agree give the families time to bury their loved ones instead of the stupid drumbeat of guns…a lot more complicated than guns…obviously….and sorry letting the video games off and hollywood is a little sticking the head in the sand…and then there are parents….and in general a society that demands everything and right/wrong have disappeared
    please allow them some time……

  • Read up on Nazi Gun Control!! Then think about it!!

  • Really? Yeah, lets disarm law abiding sitizens who had firearms for decades and never committed a single crime.

    How about taking away the sales of ammunition or tax it? You are forgetting that more than a half of the gun owners reload their own ammunition, thus it is pointless. In fact it is much cheaper to obtain lead and copper jackets with primers, casings, and powder than to buy ammunition.

    For one there is no such thing as assault weapons in civilian world. There are semi automatic weapons, it is politicians who don’t know the difference between assault and non assault weapons labeled them as such merely for their looks.

    Number two Franklyn Fahrwhar how about not blaming the gun and blame the people who are unstable enough to do such thing as shooting innocent people? Yeah it is true that microwave is not designed to kill. It is true that cars are not designed to kill, yet you could pick up a microwave and slam it on someone’s head repeatedly or ram someone at 60 miles per hour deliberately, then stop and run them over and over and over. The weapons are not the problem. If all firearms disspeared magically in today’s world, criminals and psychopaths will simply find the other means to kill and maim.

    No a single person look at the story that was going on during Connecticut shooting where on the other side of the glob in China, there was madman going on killing rampage with the butchers knife. He stabbed 20 people at random before he was stopped himself. Oh wait… that was butcher’s knife. It was designed for chopping and cutting meat or other edible products…. hmm.

    Another story was going on during the shooting as well. This is directly out of the news article. The media said nothing and merely focused on riling people up with pitchforks and torches to call everyone who owns a semi automatic firearm a Nazi and psychopath instead of looking deeper into the problems:

    On Sunday December 17, 2012, 2 days after the CT shooting, a man went to a restaurant in San Antonio to kill his X-girlfriend. After he shot her, most of the people in …the restaurant fled next door to a theater. The gunman followed them and entered the theater so he could shoot more people. He started shooting and people in the theater started running and screaming. It’s like the Aurora, CO theater story plus a restaurant!

    Now aren’t you wondering why this isn’t a lead story in the national media along with the school shooting?

    There was an off duty county deputy at the theater. SHE pulled out her gun and shot the man 4 times before he had a chance to kill anyone. So since this story makes the point that the best thing to stop a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun, the media is treating it like it never happened.

    Only the local media covered it. The city is giving her a medal next week. Just thought you’d like to know.

    There was a lot of stories like this. To every terrible situation like this, there at least 4 good others happening at the same time where good people, stopping potential massacres like that with so called “assault weapons” of their own.

    You think that banning semi automatic rifles will cause the criminals to stop using firearms either? Now imagine a psychopath in your local school carrying Mossberg pump action with 6 shots loaded with 12 gage, spraying at random innocent, students as they are running. How about bolt action Remington 7 hundred with 10 round magazine? Hmm you say it is bolt action. As former iraqi war veteran I can tell you with ease what kind of horrific wounds M24 (military version of R700 hunting rifle) incur. You don’t even have to aim at close range, when you can simply fire at the crowd of helpless people from the hip, even with the bolt action rifle. Don’t you think that is possible?

    Recently there was school shooting in California. California is known for some of the stricted firearm laws in the country, yet they have gun crime rate of epidemic proportions, with shootings happening on daily basis.
    Local student got fed up with the bullies and brought his brother’s shotgun, critically injurying one of the students there. Nothing stopped him except for the teacher who was brave enough to talk him out of it and give up the weapon.

    How about The shootings in Columbine? The main weapon of one of the attackers was Savage 67H pump action shotgun (in fact illegally sawed off). No one prevented those kids from illegally obtaining those weapons or altering the barrel of that shotgun by simply sawing it off.

    Do you really think that strict gun laws will prevent gun crimes? Look at Chicago. Look at Washingtong DC and New Jersey. All of those places pretty much forbid firearms to be seen on the streets, yet the crime rates involving in those places is high. Chicago have problems with armed gangs, Washington DC have one of the highest rates of violent crimes (rapes, homocides, assaults) in the nation. At one time even with their tough laws DC was called “The Murder Capital of the World”.

    What about the “Weapons prohibited by Federal Law” signs? Seemed to work quite well against Connecticut shooter who simply saw those red letters in the other translation “Attack Here. Innocent victims inside.”

    Overal if the assault weapons ban passes today, the only thing that will happen is:

    1) more innocent people will get killed with now armed criminals and disarmed ordinary people.

    2) more crimes will be commited with other firearms, including hunting rifles and people will start complaining to ban those as well.

    3) Murder rates, homocides, rapes, assaults will still occur and will be higher. In fact in countries such as UK and Australia, after weapons ban their violent crime rates actually went up. Criminally inclined simply started to grab “That Microwave and that Car designed for ordinary goodwilling purposes” to hurt, kill, and maim people.
    4) Criminals already have access to reloading benches and can easily obtain materials to make ammunition at will. Ordinary sitizens will not.
    To the conclusion
    No, the assault weapons ban will not work. In fact entire firearm ban will not work. People that are naturally predispondent and capable of violence will simply use or find other tools (such as explosives, poisons, toxic gases, germs) to do harm.
    Perhaps having psychological tests and performing background checks will help, but not outright ban.