Wilmington, Del. police Chief Christine Dunning spoke at Vice President Joe Biden's roundtable at Girard College this afternoon and told the federal officials, local law enforcement and state prosecutors that if gun violence could happen in her hometown it could happen anywhere. And that's the problem.
U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, who also took part in the roundtable discussion regarding gun control and safety, said Dunning spoke just after three people were shot and killed and two officers injured inside the lobby of the New Castle County Courthouse 40 miles away.
"The police chief from Delaware was obviously very concerned about the situation that took place there today," Fattah said. "But her point was this was taking place all over the country. You know, there's not a day that goes by in which there's not some significant circumstance."
Fattah said the shooting today, in which a man aimed for and killed his former daughter-in-law who was in a bitter custody fight with his son, is an unfortunate example that speaks to the heart of one of the critical issues federal lawmakers face.
"We do know that (the shooting) was a domestic dispute," Fattah said. "So one of the prohibitive categories that we want to focus on is people who have a history of domestic violence."
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He said access to a weapon could escalate certain circumstances.
"Whether in the home or at the courthouse in this case," he said, "From something that would be a domestic altercation is something where lives are lost."
The discussion comes one day before President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. The Obama administration has expressed a desire to revamp gun-control laws in the wake of the horrific shooting in December at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Obama has proposed a new ban on assault weapons, magazines carrying more than 10 rounds of ammunition and more elaborate background checks for prospective gun buyers.
Fattah, who is vice chair of the gun violence task force in the House of Representatives, is in agreement. He said assault weapons belong on the battlefield.
"We're not talking about taking away guns from people who have guns to protect their homes," he said. "We're saying military-type assault weapons don't belong in civilian hands."
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