Schumer: Pro-Gun Control Advocates Have to Admit There Is a Right to Bear Arms

By Melanie Arter | December 17, 2012 | 11:30 AM EST

President Obama and Sen. Charles Schumer, New York Democrat. (AP Photo)

( Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Sunday that progress will be made on stricter gun control laws when both sides meet in the middle, starting with pro-gun control advocates, who must admit that there is a right to bear arms.

“First, those of us who are pro-gun control have to admit that there is a Second Amendment right to bear arms. I know that my colleagues on the pro-gun side say, ‘How can the liberals, how can the left say the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th Amendments should be read expansively and the 2nd Amendment should be seen so narrowly through the pinhole of, ‘Well, it’s only militias,’” Schumer said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

Host Bob Schieffer asked: “I’d like your view on why is it that it is so hard to get anything done in this area, because you know it’s not just that Congress is reluctant to pass laws. Members, as we found out this weekend when we tried to get guests to come and talk about this on Face the Nation, people are just reluctant to even discuss it. It’s the thing that I think they’re more reluctant about this than they are about raising taxes when you come right down to it.”

Schumer, who wrote the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act and authored the original assault weapons ban in the House, proposed reinstating the ban on assault weapons, limiting the size of clips, and making sure mentally unstable people can’t get guns.

“Well that may well be true. We’ve been gridlocked. You have both sides off in a corner, and I, as someone who wrote the Brady law and was the House author of the assault weapons ban, spend more time trying to stop bad things from happening than being able to do good things,” Schumer said.

“But I think we need a new paradigm, Bob. It’s not any one person making another speech or whatever. We need a new paradigm ‘cause both sides are in a corner, and they could come to the middle,” he said.

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“And the NRA and other groups even further to the right have engendered fear in the average gun owner. In large parts of America, guns are a way of life that, you know, the left wants to take that hunting rifle that your Uncle Tommy gave you when you were 14,” the senator said.

Also, Schumer said, the right must admit that “no amendment is absolute.”

“Once we establish that there is a constitutional right to bear arms, we should have the right admit – and maybe they’ll be willing to admit – that no amendment is absolute. After all, the 1st Amendment has limitations – you can’t scream fire in a, falsely scream fire in a crowded theater. We have limits on libel and pornography,” he said.

“Every amendment should have some balance and some limitation, and if we’re together, we can come to the middle on that, maybe we can make some real progress, instead of each side being off in their corner – one side saying, ‘Ban guns. Get rid of guns,’ and the other side saying, ‘Don’t you touch anything about guns,’” Schumer said.