GOP Senator says stopping guns from getting into the hands of the mentally ill might be addressed in Congress

Coburn gave his point of view:

SEN. COBURN:  Well, I--again, I would tell you that--let's say you pass that. If, if you have somebody that is a criminal, that wants to get around the law, they're going to get around the law.  The problem with gun laws is they limit the ability to defend yourself, one.  But number two is, the people who are going to commit a crime or going to do something crazy aren't going to pay attention to the laws in the first place.  And there's numerous examples over the last few years where concealed carry has, in fact, benefited people, especially in, for example, in Colorado Springs, where a individual with a concealed carry stopped somebody who was going to kill multiple people in a church, and, and, and wounded them so that they could not continue to do that. So it's a controversial issue.

The fact is, I'd go back--let's fix the real problem.  Here's a mentally deranged person who had access to a gun that shouldn't have had access to a gun.  Now, what is the--how do we stop that?  And, and there's a hole in what we need to do.  And I'm willing to work with Senator Schumer and anybody else that wants to make sure people who are mentally ill cannot get and use a gun.

On Friday, Hillsborough area Democratic Congresswoman Kathy Castor sounded extremely pessimistic about any meaningful legislation on guns getting passed, saying of McCarthy's bill that, "I would support that if it came to the floor of the House for a vote. The challenge is going to be the Republicans in the majority, they control the agenda, so it's unlikely that will see the light of the day."

In the past eight days, there has been some - but not much - discussion about the issue of guns in the wake of the assassination attempt of Arizona Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Most of that discussion has centered around the idea that ultimately, nothing will happen in Congress, primarily because the power of the National Rifle Association.  That and the fact that Democrats have in the recent past at times been hurt at the polls (think Al Gore losing West Virginia and Tennessee in 2000) seems to have been seared into the minds of the media industrial complex in Washington that It Simply Won't Happen.

On Sunday, NBC's David Gregory on Meet The Press opted to "go there," and discuss if Congress might venture to do something about guns, considering that gun control advocates say that Jared Loughner would not have been able to buy a new magazine for a Glock to carry 30 bullets if the Assault Weapon Ban had been reinstated by Congress (as President Obama promised) after it expired in 2004 (but yes, NRA fans, he still could have purchased a used magazine , or something from a third party manufacturer, to shoot 20 people).

Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn said he wasn't at all interested in supporting the proposal already introduced in the House by New York Democrat Carolyn McCarthy and New Jersey Democrat Frank Lautenberg to ban high capacity magazines. But he did say that he would be supportive at looking  at preventing guns getting into the hands of the mentally ill, like Loughner.  New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer said the Congress should work on that.

SEN. SCHUMER:   I think there are three areas we can look at, and there's a possibility we could get bipartisan cooperation on these.  The first is, as you mentioned, looking at the laws of somebody who is mentally ill, who is clearly disturbed, in terms of them getting a gun.  And as I said, a few years ago a mentally ill person—someone adjudicated mentally ill, that's a little different than in Loughner's case—shot a priest and a parishioner of a parish on Long Island, and we tightened up the law.  The—we worked with the NRA, actually, Tom Coburn was involved, and the law's tighter now and better. But probably this is an area we need to explore.  Second, the military notifying people who are rejected because of excessive drug abuse.  And my belief on the clips, I was the author of the law in the House, Senator Feinstein in the Senate, to limit the clips to 10.  I think we—I spoke with Senator Feinstein this week—she's recuperating from surgery, minor surgery—and we're going to look at that again.  In the meantime, Senators Lautenberg, Congresswoman McCarthy have introduced a bill in that regard, and I hope that might move.

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