U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-Fairport, NY)
By Jessica Alaimo, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle
ROCHESTER - The tragedies in Webster and Newtown, Conn. have led to a new round of discussion about gun control, and U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-Fairport, will have a role in the talks.
Slaughter was appointed Monday to the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, a group of U.S. House Democrats that will participate in talks about federal reforms to gun control laws.
The group met with Vice President Joe Biden Monday and is expected to roll out a set of proposals.
In a brief interview Friday, Slaughter said she wants to see the ban on assault weapons restored, background checks bolstered and gun shows eliminated. She said doctors should be allowed to ask about guns in the home.
"My family always hunted, but they ate what they killed," Slaughter said. "It was a whole different mindset. Hundreds have told me time and time again that they don't hunt for food or sport with an assault rifle."
Slaughter does not support the National Rifle Association's proposal to place armed guards in schools. "We're not going to make it safer with a lot more guns," Slaughter said. "That's not the answer."
At a White House news conference Monday, President Barack Obama expressed support for a new and improved background check system and restrictions on the size of high-capacity ammunition magazines. More details will be released later in the week.
"Will all of them get through this Congress?" Obama said. "I don't know."
Slaughter's office is seeking input from Kelly McCormick-Sullivan of Rochester, whose six-year-old niece was murdered during the school shooting in Newtown. McCormick-Sullivan is asking for a ban on high-capacity magazines and better coordination of reporting mental health diagnoses to law enforcement.
"Congress and the President need to enact stronger gun laws that will prevent future tragedies like this," McCormick-Sullivan said in a news release. "No parent should be forced to spend Christmas mourning their child's death."
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand also sees a sense of urgency in adopting new gun control laws. She also wants to ban high-capacity magazines and assault weapons.
She said most of the guns used in New York to commit crimes are from out of state - and of those most are illegal.
"We could actually have a federal law making it a crime to traffic weapons into other states and create a felony with real penalties," Gillibrand said Friday. "We could stem the flow of these illegal guns into our state and that could save a lot of lives too. That bill I'm pushing forward and hoping to get support."
U.S. Rep. Chris Collins, R-Clarence, Erie County, who represents four Monroe County towns, could not be reached for comment.
Rochester Democrat & Chronicle