PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Two local members of Congress appearing on the KD/PG Sunday Edition demonstrate why passing gun reform measures seems so impossible in Washington.
“We’ve seen tragedy all across the country,” U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, a Forest Hills Democrat, told KDKA political editor Jon Delano. “We’ve seen it in my congressional district with the Tree of Life shooting.”
Doyle said the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives has already passed an expanded background checks law.
But it’s being blocked in the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate.
Doyle: “If we can’t even pass a background check bill, and we’ve sent one over to the Senate so the House…”
Delano: “Is it a universal background check, none of these loopholes for the gun shows?”
Doyle: “It closes all those loopholes.”
Delano: “Including private sales?”
Doyle: “Yes, that’s been sent over the Senate, and it’s sitting there.”
But U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, a Butler Republican, has a different take.
“When we start talking about this issue, we also forget the fact that we have something very important to all of us called the Second Amendment and Bill of Rights,” said Kelly. “The conversation becomes much more complicated.”
Kelly reflects a wide-spread Republican belief that we don’t need more laws.
“If you can tell me one piece of legislation that would have changed anything that happened previously when we had all this carnage, I would love to see that piece of legislation,” Kelly said. “I could vote for something like that.”
Kelly is skeptical gun control is the answer to ending gun violence, including a ban on civilian ownership of military-style weapons.
Delano: “Does it make sense to you?”
Kelly: “It doesn’t make sense because we’re saying law-abiding citizens are going to be told, ‘You’re not going to be able to choose what you want to buy because someone else has determined that that’s not right for you.’”
Delano: “So you don’t have a problem with folks having assault weapons in their homes?”
Kelly: “No. Listen, this is the Second Amendment.”
Doyle, however, said he’d ban them all.
“I don’t understand the civilian use for a clip that can hold 30 bullets,” Doyle said. “Or as we saw most recently, this gentleman comes in with this double drum capacity that could fire 100 bullets, and he was able to shoot 41 bullets in 30 seconds before police took him down.”
Strong passionate views on all sides have made finding common ground challenging, especially in Washington with divided government.
President Donald Trump, who might have negotiated a deal on background checks, got a talking to from the National Rifle Association and has backed away from his support for stronger background checks, a position he took right after the Dayton and El Paso mass shootings.
So the deadlock continues.
The entire KD/PG Sunday Edition show airs on Sunday at 6:30 a.m.