Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney is optimistic about gun control legislation, insisting that Republicans are ready to pass real reforms. She credits the American public with helping to turn the tide. "There's a new sense of urgency," she said on Wednesday's PoliticsNation. The American people have been very clear that they want to stop the threat of gun violence across America for our children, and they want to see something get done."
Rep. Maloney is one of the co-sponsors of a new bill to make gun trafficking a federal crime, the first House bill to have a Republican co-sponsor. Virginia's Scott Rigell and Pennsylvania's Patrick Meehan were the first to join the pack, but Maloney said she and her colleagues brought another three Republicans on to support the bill. "We're going to pass this bill," she said.
That new-found support comes on the same day celebrities like Chris Rock, Amanda Peet, and Anna Deavere Smith made their way to Capitol Hill to push for legislation with the gun safety advocacy group Demand A Plan. Support from activism heavyweights like Kerry Kennedy and Martin Luther King III also made a big impact. The Kings and the Kennedys are "America's first families" and their voices will "resonate" with Americans, said the Washington Post's Nia-Malika Henderson.
"The folks who are on the gun control side of this debate have really turned a corner," she said. "It used to be that the gun lobby had all of the energy and the passion, but in the wake of Sandy Hook you've seen a real sea change and I think going forward we're going to see some bipartisan movement."
None of her Republican colleagues were willing to sign onto the measure when she first introduced it last year, Maloney said, but the common sense nature of the gun trafficking bill has won them over now. "We need to give law enforcement the tools to make our streets safer," she said, adding that provisions in the legislation were specifically laid out by law enforcement officials who testified before Congress.
"We need tougher enforcement and we need tougher laws on the books."