Gun laws become local, national focus


On Capitol Hill Giffords said, "Too many children are dying. Too many children. We must do something!"

Members of Congress met with city officials in San Francisco to talk about the same gun measures and ABC7 News was there at that meeting in San Francisco Wednesday.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., at the meeting in San Francisco and so was Peninsula congresswoman and shooting victim Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, and North Bay Congressman Mike Thompson, D-Napa, Calif., who chairs the House task force on gun violence. The topic of this forum was what can and needs to be done.

Pelosi began by saying it's time for members of Congress to protect the American people.

"This is it. We have to measure up, measure up, and we cannot accept anything less than success," said Pelosi.

The head of the House Gun Violence Task Force says there are measures that gun advocates support.

"Like universal background checks, like an end to these assault magazines, 30 shots at a time," said Thompson.

Mindy Finkelstein was the first to ask a question of the panel. She was one of five people shot 13 years ago at a Jewish Center in Los Angeles. She said she was shot, "…by a man who was out on parole, who was a self-proclaimed neo-Nazi, and was able to get his gun though the gun show loophole," said Finkelstein.

The loophole is that people who buy guns at gun shows are not subject to background checks.

"That has to be. You say, 'What happens if the law doesn't change?' The law has to change," said Thompson. He called the loophole ridiculous. "It's the same thing as saying we're going to screen airline passengers in only 30 of the states."

There was no argument at the local meeting, but in Washington D.C. the head of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, called universal background checks a waste of time and money.

"You're never going to get criminals to go through universal background checks and all the law abiding people you're going to create an enormous federal bureaucracy," said LaPierre.

Speier, who was shot five times during the Jonestown Massacre, says LaPierre doesn't represent the NRA's membership.

"The polls that have been taken show that the vast majority of the NRA members support universal background checks," said Speier.

Thompson says his task force will have the recommendations ready by next week. He'll turn them over to Pelosi and then we'll see how far they get in the Republican-led house.

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