Watch the ‘FOX News Sunday' panel, Bill Kristol, Liz Marlantes, Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Juan Williams, as they preview the president’s State of the Union address, in our web exclusive Panel Plus
Captain Mark Kelly (USN, ret.) thinks the circumstances surrounding the shooting of his wife, former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), provide a case in point as to why background checks need to be made universal and the size of magazine clips limited.
He explained on “Fox News Sunday.”
“He was clearly mentally ill,” Kelly said of the shooter Jared Loughner.
“If his condition was entered into the system… I would assume he would’ve been rejected,” rather than passing the back ground check, as he did.
Kelly said that’s not enough though.
Even if Loughner was rejected through a back ground check, “there is a gun show loophole, he could’ve easily gone to a private seller.”
Closing the so-called gun show loophole, and instituting universal background checks, have become priorities among stricter gun control advocates.
The NRA’s Wayne LaPierre, who appeared after Captain Kelly, disagreed that more controls are the answer.
“It’s a fraud to call it universal, it’s never going to be universal,” LaPierre argued.
It is his contention that criminals will not subject themselves to expanded back ground checks, only law-abiding citizens will.
LaPierre argued that criminals will find a way to get the weapon they want, they will not be deterred by an expanded check.
Another proposal gaining some steam in Congress is banning high-capacity magazines.
As he said in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, Kelly believes had Loughner had a 10 magazine clip rather than the 33 magazine clip he had, he would have inflicted less damage.
As Kelly points out, when Loughner went to reload his gun, he fumbled the magazine, giving bystanders an opportunity to restrain him.
Kelly agreed with LaPierre and the NRA’s position that the laws on the books, many of which arguably go unenforced, need to be enforced.
But Kelly added, “At same time we can’t give those people a second option of where to get a gun.”
LaPierre was asked about the Supreme Court’s ruling in DC v. Heller that, while finding an individual right to keep and bear arms is constitutional, ruled that it is not without its limits.
LaPierre said that the organization agrees with reasonable limits.
And he thinks the majority of the American public is on the NRA’s side when it comes to the question of implementing new gun control measures.
“The American public see through this and want to see the existing laws enforced,” LaPierre said.
In the end, Kelly admits these are difficult problems, but he is optimistic that members on both sides of the aisle want to get something accomplished on this issue.
“We sent a man to the moon, we can solve this,” the former astronaut said.
Watch the ‘FOX News Sunday' panel, Kevin Madden, Nina Easton, Laura Ingraham and Evan Bayh as they discuss the economy, in our web exclusive Panel Plus
Watch the ‘FOX News Sunday' panel, Brit Hume, Jeff Zeleny, Kim Strassel and Juan Williams, as they discuss the future of the Republican Party, in our web exclusive Panel Plus.
The first week of the president’s second term was full, from the inaugural address, to the long-awaited Congressional hearings regarding Benghazi, to a sweeping Court decision handed down Friday, which could impact hundreds of rulings made by the influential National Labor Relations Board.
Republican Senator Bob Corker (TN) called the DC Circuit’s ruling that three of President Obama’s appointments to the NLRB were not valid a “huge victory for whoever believes in balance of power.”
Corker was one of 42 senators to sign onto a brief in support of the petitioner against the NLRB in the lawsuit.
Hundreds of rulings have been handed down since those appointments, and legal analysts wonder whether this decision invalidates those rulings.
Corker said “In each case someone might have to challenge those rulings.”
Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), the third-highest ranking Democrat in the Senate, said we need to take a step back and ask ourselves why government has found itself in this position in the first place.
“We’ve reached that point because we couldn’t go through an orderly process of bringing the nominees up and getting an up and down vote,” Durbin argued.
The president will make the point "very strongly" that “people here in Washington need to seek common ground” White House senior advisor David Plouffe said in previewing the Obama's second inaugural address.
Plouffe also argued that the president has not been the impediment to agreement between the two parties.
"The barrier to progress is not the president, we need to see more Republicans willing to compromise," Plouffe said.
The next opportunity for the two parties to work together to find agreement will likely be over whether to raise the debt limit.
House Republicans proposed this week to allow for a short-term deal, tied to a requirement that the Senate pass a budget, something they have not done since 2009.
Plouffe said that while the White House is pleased that House Republicans have moved past their position that any agreement to lift the ceiling will accompany spending cuts, they do not favor a short term deal.
"We don’t think short term is smart for the economy," Plouffe said, adding that Washington needs to "contribute certainty and help to the economy."
Plouffe put forward a marker that Democrats have emphasized over the course of the past several weeks, the administration will expect more revenue in any deficit reduction deal.
"The key is whether House and Senate Republicans are willing to agree to revenues," through closing loopholes-a tax reform policy they have supported in the recent past.
Finally, Plouffe addressed the so-called second term curse, and how the president plans to avoid it.
"It’s not like we are roaming around the White House looking for things to do," Plouffe said.
Listing a number of policy initiatives the president plans to push, Plouffe said, "We are going to bring the same energy and focus to the second term."
"I also think you need to stay connected to what you ran on," Plouffe added.
Republican Senator Roy Blunt (MO), who also serves as vice-chair of the Republican Conference, said the key to the next four years is the president's willingness to lead.
"There's only one guy who can lead and that’s the president," Blunt said.
Blunt argued that the problem has not been Republican intransience.
"He has not done much to advance a specific agenda," Blunt said, adding, "You can t get that far with executive ordersYou have to legislate."
Blunt says the president has to work with the Congress
Blunt said all of the upcoming debates over fiscal issues-raising the debt ceiling, addressing the sequestration cuts, and funding the government- are opportunities for Republicans to fight for spending cuts.
Asked whether he supports the short-term debt ceiling deal proposed by House Republican leadership, Blunt said he agreed Congress should not get paid if they do not do their work.
"I think all of us losing our pay if we don’t pass a budget is a good thing," Blunt said.
Due to Inauguration events this weekend there will be no panel plus this week.
Watch the ‘FOX News Sunday' panel, Brit Hume, Bob Woodward, Bill Kristol and Evan Bayh, as they discuss the president’s second term, in our web exclusive Panel Plus