On Monday, retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., called for a crackdown on applications to purchase guns and the creation of a National Commission on Youth Violence during an appearance on The Daily Rundown.
Lieberman questioned the access Americans have to assault weapons and said that they shouldn’t be used for hunting or target practice. Lieberman addressed the need to “tone down the violence in the entertainment industry,” specifically in video games, where he said the rating guide should be enforced more heavily.
Video games don’t turn everyone who uses them “into a mass murderer but there are people who are out there who are vulnerable and in almost every one of these cases going back to Columbine, we’ve found a troubled young man who was involved with some kind of violence in our culture then got access to guns and killed,” the senator said. Lieberman also pointed out the need for more “mental assistance” for those who are troubled, saying society must find proper ways to handle and acknowledge mental illnesses.
An advocate of preventing youth violence since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999, Lieberman once paired with Sen. John McCain to establish the National Commission on Violence, and he would like to see the group reestablished.
Lieberman told NBC’s Chuck Todd that President Barack Obama could even appoint the commission, stressing that it doesn’t have to be left up to Congress.
“Maybe he can lead this national discussion but I made this proposal yesterday because I don’t want us to lose the hurt and anger we feel now and our resolve to do something,” Lieberman said. “Time dulls the hurt and anger, and gun control measures are put into Congress and boxed up and we go on until the next tragedy.”
The senator noted that America cannot afford to wait until the next tragedy.
Praising Obama’s speech to the Newtown community during an interfaith prayer service on Sunday night, he said people should remain “heartened by the president’s commitment,” to fix America’s gun control problem.
Lieberman said the speech “raises the prospects” that something will be done and that a non-partisan commission is needed for that to occur.
“I wouldn’t mind some people representing gun rights groups or the entertainment industry because this has to be a discussion in which we all sit down at the same table and say, ‘hey these are our children.’”
Lieberman echoed Obama’s sentiment that “these tragedies must end,” and said the country must reevaluate its stance on gun control asking, “is there more we can do?”