Democrats in Congress say they will no longer be passive about gun control. "For one, I'm not going to be lulled into this acquiescence that we can't do anything else. We're going to do something." says Congressman John Yarmuth of Kentucky.
"The reasons these things die is that we all move on to other things," Yarmuth said on PoliticsNation Monday. The congressmen challenged himself to stand up on this issue in an op-ed published today, writing: "I have been largely silent on the issue of gun violence over the past six years, and I am now as sorry for that as I am for what happened to the families who lost so much in this most recent, but sadly not isolated, tragedy."
He is already under pressure from constituents, he said, having received "literally hundreds of phone calls and letters" through his office just this morning. "This is different."
He also says at least one of his colleagues on the other side of the aisle is ready to do something too. Yarmuth said a Republican and fellow Kentucky congressman with an A-rating from the NRA told him today, "The president was right, we need to take meaningful action." It was unclear to which colleague Yarmuth was referring, since all four Republican congressmen from Kentucky have A-ratings from the NRA.
Rep. Joe Courtney of Connecticut says the parents, teachers, and families in Newtown are demanding no less. "They expect us to not just let this thing sort of blow over," he said on PoliticsNation. "We cannot let that happen.”
Courtney brought up three types of legislation that Congress could consider including the assault weapons ban, and other actions like ammunition availability and mental health services and record keeping for better-informed background checks. One solution he rejects, he said, is turning schools into "fortresses," a nod towards the right-wing suggestion that more guns in schools could help to improve safety. "We've got to have a much broader, more meaningful solution."
The key to achieving that solution, Courtney says, is to demand that leaders address the issue "as soon as possible." He's confident they won't be too hard to convince. "I think you're going to see--particularly with some of the new members coming in--that this issue is going to come flying out of the gate [come January]."
If the public remains adamant, he said, "Ultimately grassroots will trump the power of the NRA."