Democrats Call for Gun and Rhetoric Control

January 10, 2011 - 8:16 AM

Giffords shooting-scene

Law enforcement officers outside a Safeway store after a gunman targeting Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ari.) opened fire in Tucson, Ariz. on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011. (AP Photo/James Palka)

(CNSNews.com) - Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), a gun control advocate, reportedly plans to introduce a bill on Monday banning the type of high-capacity magazine used by the Tucson gunman to shoot U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 19 other people outside a grocery store on Saturday.

One of McCarthy's House colleagues, meanwhile, plans to introduce legislation barring the use of threatening language or violent imagery toward members of Congress.

"We need to be closing down this rhetoric," Rep. Robert Brady (D-Pa.) told CNN on Sunday. He wants words and images that can be construed as threats against lawmakers to be treated the same way they would be if they were used against the president.

McCarthy did not release details of her bill. “My staff is working on looking at the different legislation fixes that we might be able to do and we might be able to introduce as early as tomorrow (Monday),” McCarthy told Politico.com on Sunday.

Authorities say 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner purchased his gun, a semi-automatic Glock, legally in Arizona. Although he was known for bizarre behavior,  he had not been adjudicated mentally ill, which would have prevented him from legally buying a gun.

“Again, we need to look at how this is going to work, to protect people, certainly citizens, and we have to look at what I can pass,” McCarthy said. “I don’t want to give the NRA – excuse the pun – the ammunition to come at me either,” she told Politico.

Several other lawmakers also zeroed in on guns and rhetoric as the problem.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, another New York Democrat, posted a message on her Web site saying, “Guns kill. And those who glamorize gunplay or worship gun ownership do no service to humanity."

Maloney also targeted "inflammatory rhetoric to achieve cheap political gain."

Admitting that it's too soon to draw any conclusions about the causes of Saturday's mass shooting, Maloney said, "It is never too late to reflect on lessons we have learned" from earlier shooting episodes.

"As we approach  the observance of Martin Luther King Day, let us recall the words that Bobby Kennedy spoke on that tragic occasion so many years ago: ‘Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world,’ " Maloney said in a message on her Web site.

On the other side of the coin,  at least two members of Congress -- Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) plan to start carrying guns for their personal protection, Politico reported.

"After the elections, I let my guard down," Politico quoted Shuler as saying. "Now I know I need to have (my gun) on me."