Programming Change: Days of Our Lives to air at 2 a.m.

Gun control debate heats up with new violence

WASHINGTON—A former Congresswoman is back in the nation’s capital to push for tougher gun laws.

Gabrielle Giffords was among the key players for and against gun control, testifying before a Senate committee on the hot button issue.

The best chance of new legislation with both parties in agreement is likely in the area of background checks and mental health care.

Senators had a fresh reminder of the consequences of gun violence.

Hadiya Pendleton, a Chicago honor student, was gunned down in a park when she was trying to escape a thunderstorm.

Authorities say she was shot in the back as she ran to a canopy as the rain began to fall.

The tragedy just one week after performing in last week’s inaugural festivities.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, said, “A gunman came in and shot her dead. Just a matter of days after the happiest day of her life, she’s gone.”

As the gun laws fight raged on Capitol Hill, another shooting at an office in Phoenix left several people wounded.

Gabrielle Giffords, a victim of gun violence herself, pleaded for action.

Giffords’ husband, Mark Kelly, argued for universal background checks to keep criminals from getting guns.

Wednesday’s hearing is in response to the shooting massacre in Newtown last month.

President Obama has already called for tougher gun control, including an assault weapons ban and limits on high-capacity magazines.

However, not everyone is in favor of that type of legislation.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said, “I fail to see how passing laws the federal government won’t enforce will make America any safer.”

The National Rifle Association intensely opposes any new laws.

Wayne LaPierre, President of the National Rifle Association, said, “Law-abiding gun owners will not accept blame for the acts of violence of deranged criminals. Nor do we believe the government should dictate what we can lawfully own and use to protect our families.”

Since the Newtown shooting, lawmakers have introduced eight gun control bills.

The area with the most agreement seems to be a need to re-examine mental health care.