Can mayors make Jared Loughner the poster boy for gun control?
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is trying to force Congress's hand on gun control, suggesting that new laws could have kept guns out of the hands of Tucson shooting suspect Jared Loughner.
As Congress begins its new session, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants it to add one more piece of legislation: a bill to tighten up the nation’s background checks on people buying a gun.Skip to next paragraph
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Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which is made up of 550 mayors around the country, wants the background check to include the records of all felony convictions, domestic violence incidents and people with mental illness and a drug history. Secondly, it would like to require “occasional sellers” of firearms, such as people who sell weapons at gun shows or through ads, to be required to conduct background checks.
“As of Dec. 31 of last year, only 2,092 people were listed in the background check system as drug addicts or abusers,” says Bloomberg. “That is just preposterous. We all know it and one of the missing names was that of Jared Loughner.”
In September 2007 Mr. Loughner was arrested for possession of a controlled substance and an arresting officer wrote that there was a "strong odor of burnt marijuana coming off of Mr. Loughner's person." A year later, he was rejected by the military for drug use.
The political reality
Realistically, the odds of Congress passing any new gun control legislation are “zero,” says Pete Davis of Davis Capital Investment Ideas, a Washington commentator and author of the blog Capital Gains and Games.
“Look at the president – right after the shooting did he breathe a word about guns?” says Mr. Davis. “It is a total non-starter in the House and it would be filibustered in the Senate.”
Instead, he anticipates Obama will stick to talking about the need for civility in the State of the Union message: “He has already ducked the issue, he knows how contentious it is.”