DAILY GRINDER: Pennsylvania Pols Weigh in on New Gun Law Potential [UPDATED]

Can gun control pass here?

Can gun control pass here?

In the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, Americans are talking about the potential of gun control—as they often do, briefly, after mass shootings. But, according to a piece at the Patriot News, few of Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation are willing to step up and support any new ban on automatic weapons. Most members have issued statements, but all save Rep. Charlie Dent is the only Republican who called for actual legislation. Even Democrat Bob Casey, who wants to ban selling Robotussin to kids under 18, did not signal support for specific assault weapon legislation, but rather said the situation requires, “comprehensive strategy that acknowledges all of the factors that contributed to this tragedy and takes every appropriate step to protect our citizens, especially our kids.”

Meanwhile, Mayor Nutter was a bit more forceful. He noted of those who aren’t sure they could support a ban on assault rifles: “Those who are uncomfortable supporting that kind of legislation, I can’t imagine how they would explain that to a mom or a dad in Newtown, Conn., today.” He called the Connecticut shooting a “tipping point.”

Former Governor Ed Rendell has called for stricter gun laws, too. And he’s noted—citing a Mayors Against Illegal Guns poll from July—that a majority of gun owners and even NRA members support mandatory background checks when buying firearms. “I think this is a bipartisan movement that’s going to sweep the country. Every sane person and every parent has to say ‘Let’s go!’ and get this done,” he said.

State Sen. Daylin Leach called for respect of the Second Amendment, but a ban on assault weapons: “Everyone supports the right to have a weapon, but do we need people having assault weapons? These weapons were made for one thing: killing lots of people,” he said.

Rep. Daryl Metcalfe of Western Pennsylvania, a sort-of die hard Republican on just about every issue you can think of, had a different view: “There will be no additional gun control in Pennsylvania…I will not allow the left to use this horrific act to advance their gun-grabbing agenda. The support is not there in Pennsylvania.”

Garrett Reid, the late son of Eagles coach Andy Reid, had 19 vials of steroids in his room at Eagles training camp when he died this summer.

A new Marist College poll finds that a majority of Pennsylvania Republicans want compromise in the fiscal cliff deal. Per the poll: 53 percent of Republicans want the GOP to compromise and 77 percent said the president should compromise. Sixty percent said the final outcome should include some tax increases on higher-income Americans, in addition to spending cuts.

UPDATE: It’s worth mentioning that the U.S. Conference of Mayors, led by Mayor Nutter, put out a statement today calling for immediate action on gun control:

“Again and again and again, Americans are stunned by senseless acts of violence involving guns. Friday’s tragedy targeting young children in Newtown is incomprehensible. Too many times this year, mayors have expressed shock at a mass shooting. Even more frequently, many of us must cope with the gun violence that occurs on the streets of our cities. …

“The Conference has been calling for sensible gun laws to protect the public for more than 40 years. Mayors and police chiefs from cities of all sizes have worked together in this effort over the years.

“We urge you to take immediate action: the President to exercise his powers though Executive Order and Congress to introduce and pass legislation to make reasonable changes in our gun laws and regulations.

Specifically we call on you to:

• Enact legislation to ban assault weapons and other high-capacity magazines being prepared by Senator Dianne Feinstein and others;
• Strengthen the national background check system and eliminate loopholes in it; and
• Strengthen the penalties for straw purchases of guns. …

“We believe that with this latest national tragedy and the high incidence of gun violence that continues to plague our streets, we have reached a tipping point. The nation’s mayors pledge to work with you to build a safer America for our children and all of our citizens.”

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