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Dems give gun control another look after Santa Barbara shootings

Congressional Democrats are considering another gun control push in the wake of Friday's Santa Barbara rampage.
By Gabrielle Levy Follow @gabbilevy Contact the Author   |   May 28, 2014 at 5:34 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 28 (UPI) -- Democrats are considering adding a background check mandate for gun sales as part of a House funding bill being considered this week.

Following yet another mass shooting, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said Democrats were looking at making another attempt at passing some kind of gun control measure by attaching it to the Republican bills funding the Commerce and Justice departments.

"It is being discussed," Hoyer told reporters Wednesday at the Captiol. "It is possible."

He also said the minority leadership was considering an amendment to keep a federal rule in place to require border-state dealers to report large purchases of semi-automatic weapons, a measure the Republican bill would eliminate.

Hoyer called it a "law enforcement tool to determine whether or not there are large purchases by gangs or by drug dealers."

The conversation surrounding gun control has lept to the forefront once again this week after 22-year-old Elliot Roger shot and killed three people in Santa Barbara, Calif., and then himself, last Friday. He also stabbed three others.

Hoyer said it wasn't possible to know whether stronger gun regulations would have prevented those murders, but that Congress had a responsibility to try.

"In this instance it may not have made a difference, but it's clear that in many instances it would have made a difference," he said. "And it's also clear the overwhelming majority of the American public think it makes sense to make sure somebody is mentally stable before they buy something that, misused, can cause damage to a lot of people very quickly."

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