published Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

Dem, GOP senators clash at latest hearing on guns

  • photo
    In this Tuesday, June 28, 2011 file photo, Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., center, flanked by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, left, and Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., speaks during a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Senate holds its second hearing Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, on gun curbs since the December 2012 shooting deaths of 20 first-graders in Newtown, Conn. This time, a Senate Judiciary subcommittee is examining the constitutionality and effectiveness of federal firearms limits. “We need to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and those who are mentally unstable,” Durbin, D-Ill., said in a brief interview Monday, Feb. 11, 2013. “I hope everyone will acknowledge what within our Constitution is not only an individual right to bear arms, but the collective right of Americans to be safe.”
    Photo by Associated Press

WASHINGTON - A top Democrat says the toll that gun violence is taking on families makes it clear that Congress needs to pass more firearms restrictions.

At a hearing Tuesday of a Senate Judiciary subcommittee, Illinois Sen. Richard Durbin said it is time for lawmakers to act. He said he believed steps like requiring background checks for all gun purchases would be constitutional, and he said current laws have too many gaps in them.

Disagreeing was Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, the panel's top Republican. He said the focus of law enforcement should be on criminals, and argued that curbing the rights of citizens to own gun would do nothing to stop violent crime.

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