On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and other top Democrats seized on Wednesday’s tragic shooting at Fort Hood in Texas to reiterate long-defeated calls for stricter gun control in the U.S.
Reid told reporters that National Guard Specialist Ivan Lopez, who killed three people and wounded 16 others at the military installation before committing suicide this week, was a perfect example of why Congress should reevaluate background checks on gun purchasers.
“I was told today this young man bought this gun a day or two before he killed those people — couldn’t we at least have background checks so people who are ill mentally or who are felons shouldn’t be allowed to buy guns?” Reid said.
Senator Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.), one of the authors of the Senate’s tough gun control legislation that was defeated last April, said that he would like to see his bill revisited following the tragedy.
Manchin’s measure was defeated 54-46 when it made it to the Senate floor, and both Democrats acknowledge that the bill would still lack support if brought up for a vote today.
“I would like to be able to bring it back up. I need some more votes,” Reid said.
The White House, which made gun control a primary agenda theme last year, also weighed in on background checks Thursday with spokesman Jay Carney calling for “common sense” legislation. In an effort to avoid charges of political opportunism, however, Carney was careful not to tie his remarks to the Fort Hood tragedy.