Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) released the following statement today after President Obama unveiled a series of proposals to reduce gun violence following the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut last month. Today's proposals were spearheaded by Vice President Biden and come after a series of meetings with law enforcement, gun safety organizations, sportsmen's groups, the entertainment industry and mental health professionals.
"Today's comprehensive proposal to reduce gun violence nationwide is the right step following the mass shootings in Newtown, Oak Creek, Aurora and Tucson and the daily violence on the streets of cities and towns across the country," Durbin said. "Limiting magazine capacity and assault weapons, requiring background checks on all gun sales, cracking down on unlawful firearms trafficking, and focusing on mental health are the right first steps. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing in two weeks on the issue of gun violence and I will chair a follow-up hearing on the constitutionality of reasonable gun laws under the Second Amendment."
"For all of the steps outlined today, real and meaningful changes to our nation's gun laws will only be successful if a majority of Americans and the majority of thoughtful gun owners and hunters to agree that there must be reasonable limits on gun ownership and weapons in our country."
Following the shooting in Newtown, Senator Durbin announced his support for a ban on assault weapons, a limit on magazine capacity and common-sense restrictions on gun ownership by those who have a history of violent crime, mental instability or terrorist activity. Durbin spoke to Vice President Biden during the crafting of today's announcement and urged strong action. He also wrote about his views on efforts to curb gun violence in an op-ed in the Chicago Tribune.
Last week, Durbin held a series of round tables with Illinois law enforcement to discuss the strategies being used to reduce violent crime and prevent mass shootings. He plans to hold similar meetings across Illinois with mental health professionals and sportsmen's groups.
Senator Durbin is the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights. He plans to hold a hearing on the Second Amendment and the constitutional issues surrounding gun ownership next month.