2:08pm

Thu December 20, 2012
All Politics are Local

Questions Remain About Gun Control Debate

The school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut have rekindled the gun control debate in Washington. While many gun owners worried President Obama would push gun-control measures in his first term, the only two gun bills he signed allowed people to carry concealed weapons on federal lands and in checked bags on Amtrak trains. But now he's set up a task force on gun-violence and wants to reinstate the Assault Weapons Ban. Kentucky Republican Ed Whitfield says more questions must be answered before Congress does anything.

“We all know that tragedies occur and it appears that this young man had some mental issues as did the young man in Colorado and I would assume that anybody that does this has a mental issue," said Whitfield. "And whether or not more money for mental health would be beneficial I don’t know.”  

Kentucky Democrat John Yarmuth agrees mental health needs to be a part of the debate. 

“We’ve got to make that commitment to mental health," said Yarmuth, "not just to try to reduce violence, but because those are investments that pay back many times over in many ways.”

But Yarmuth is also calling for immediate action to restrict firearms. 

“I think a package that involves expanded background checks, the high capacity magazines, and reinstituting the assault weapons ban is kind of a minimum package that should be pushed forward in the Congress.”

As for specifics, some lawmakers also want to set up a commission on mass violence, while others want the federal government to help pay for protection at schools. Congressman Whitfield says it’s too early for such calls.