Senator Elizabeth Warren joined Mayor Thomas M. Menino on Friday to press for stricter gun control and throw her support behind three Senate bills that are expected to be filed next week in the wake of the massacre in Newtown, Conn.
“We owe it to our children to start,” Warren said at a news conference at the Parkman House, the city-owned Beacon Hill residence where Menino is convalescing after a lengthy illness.
On Dec. 14, a gunman with an assault rifle and two pistols killed 20 first-graders and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Warren said she will cosponsor bills to require a criminal background check for every gun sale, make gun trafficking a federal crime, and ban assault weapons across the nation.
“Responsible gun ownership has a reasonable place in this country,” said Warren, who added that she comes from a family that owned guns. “But no one needs military-grade assault weapons, and no one needs Rambo-style high-capacity magazines to protect a family or to hunt game.”
‘We will not allow one organization to hijack our government.’
Menino, who cofounded Mayors Against Illegal Guns in 2006 with Michael R. Bloomberg of New York, said lawmakers and the public must convert the outrage over the Newtown shootings into tough, lasting regulation.
“Now’s the time to turn words into action,” said Menino, who called for Governor Deval Patrick to appoint a gun-control advocate as interim senator to replace John F. Kerry, who has been nominated to be secretary of state.
Menino lashed out against the National Rifle Association, which fiercely opposes any new restrictions on gun rights, including a reinstatement of the federal assault weapons ban that expired in 2004.
“Time is of the essence. There are those who are going to try to delay, water down, and stand in the way of gun reform,” Menino said. “We will not allow one organization to hijack our government.”
Warren also criticized the NRA. “We’ve got to be willing to push back,” she said. “The NRA cannot dictate gun policy in this country any longer.”
Warren cited the two-year loss of more than 6,000 children to gun violence in the United States — an average of eight children a day — as one reason for urgent, comprehensive attention.
“If eight children a day were dying from a mysterious virus, as a country we would bring all of our resources to bear to stop that,” Warren said. “We need to bring that same kind of intensity to protecting our children.”
Warren and Menino reacted positively to a comprehensive gun-control bill filed Friday by state Representative David P. Linsky, a Democrat from Natick. The bill would require mental-health background checks, strengthen gun-storage regulations, and mandate that gun owners carry liability insurance. “We should take a very serious look at it,” Menino said of liability insurance.
“This is a very creative approach,” Warren added.
Brian MacQuarrie can be reached at email@example.com.