Bipartisan Gun Committee Releases Partisan Gun Recommendations

Democrats, Republicans agree on some, but not all, proposed measures

Guns After Newtown
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Guns After Newtown

A bipartisan group of lawmakers reviewing possible new gun laws after the Newtown shootings has decided to issue two lists of recommendations -- one from Democrats, another from Republicans.  As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, that wasn't exactly the plan. 

The goal was that the legislative subcommittees on mental health, school security, and guns would each forward one list of recommendations to legislative leaders.  Then, together, the leaders would craft bills from there.
But on guns that got tricky.  There's a lot of agreement on things like universal background checks, stronger rules for gun storage, and expanded bans on armor-piercing bullets.  But Republicans don't like Democratic plans to expand the definition of an assault weapon.  Republicans also don't approve of a Democratic plan for a ban on high-capacity magazines.
So they apparently agreed to agree on some items, and they agreed to disagree on others.  At least one lawmaker -- Republican Sen. John Kissel -- doesn't like it. 
"I'm a little concerned that if we just - and maybe I'm way off on this -- but if it's just a process of passing along two lists,  then we're speaking with any voice here.  And how would the leadership know where there's commonality or not commonality?"
Democratic Senator Martin  Looney, who was the co-chair of the guns group, took the opposite view.
"I disagree.  I think we have met the charge of what we need to do.  We have worked to prepare these two lists, it's quite clear there is consensus on some issues and not on others."
Republican Representative Craig Miner, the panel's other co-chair, agreed.
"When I signed on to this job, I thought that we would reach some consensus and that those would be the ideas that would go forward.  Like everything else in life, this has been a lesson and kind of a learning experience to me that m any of the issues I don't think are resolvable in two months time."
But regardless of whether the two parties see eye to eye on all of their gun proposals, it's clear one man doesn't -- gun lobbyist Robert Crook.
"I don't think Sen. Looney came out with anything that we weren't expecting.  Most of the stuff we would oppose."
And, Crook says, if there's a chance for another public hearing, he'll get his people out to speak.
For WNPR, I'm Jeff Cohen.