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Schakowsky: Assault Weapons Ban 'Just the Beginning'

by Joel B. Pollak

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), a member of the DemocraticParty’s leadership in the House of Representatives, suggested to Jason Matteraat a Feb. 13 women’s rights rally that plans for an assault weapons ban andprivate-sales background checks were only the beginning of a broader guncontrol agenda extending to handguns as well.

Schakowsky evidently did not recognize Mattera, aconservative video journalist and senior investigative reporter for Talk RadioNetwork, who infamously confronted Vice President Joe Biden in the Capitol.(Mattera introduced himself to Schakowsky by name but did not indicate that hewas filming or that he is conservative.) She spoke to Mattera as if he were afellow gun control enthusiast--and Mattera played along, eliciting answersabout Schakowsky’s enthusiasm for gun control.

“We want everything on the table,” Schakowsky told Mattera.“This is a moment of opportunity. There’s no question about it.”

One poignant exchange was as follows:

Schakowsky: We’re on a roll now, and I think we’ve got totake the--you know, we’re gonna push as hard as we can and as far as we can.

Mattera: So the assault weapons ban is just the beginning?

Schakowsky: Oh absolutely. I mean, I’m against handguns. Wehave, in Illinois, the Council Against Handgun... something [Violence]. Yeah,I’m a member of that. So, absolutely.

In another exchange, Schakowsky proposed allowances forstates and municipalities to ban guns--though such laws have been repeatedlyrejected by the Supreme Court:

Mattera: We’ll never get a handgun ban with the SecondAmendment as stated.

Schakowsky: I don’t know. I don’t know that we can’t. Andthere may be an allowance, once again, for communities--I have communities inmy district that prohibited handguns within their borders. The rights ofmunicipalities and states to view that as a sensible way to keep people safe--Idon’t think it’s precluded.

When Mattera asked why legislators were not pressing for ahandgun ban, given that most murders are committed with handguns, Schakowskyreplied: “Because we’re not going to be able to win that. Not now.” She went onto explain why background checks were a useful interim policy, arguing thatthey would “address any kind of weapon.”

Schakowsky’s remarks about plans for broader gun control arenot the first time she has revealed the long-term goal behind short-term policydebates. She has a tendency to do so when speaking to apparently sympatheticaudiences. In 2009, she told a crowd that the goal of Obamacare would be to“put the private insurance industry out of business.”

Officially, Democrats--including Schakowsky--hew to theparty line as laid down by the president, which pledges support for the SecondAmendment and for gun ownership in rural communities where hunting and shootingare viewed as traditional pastimes.

Gun owners fear that the Sandy Hook-inspired gun controlmeasures before Congress--none of which would have stopped the mass shooting atSandy Hook--are a prelude to broader regulations, including the banning ofhandguns and the eventual registration and confiscation of firearms, despiteearnest assurances by Democrats to the contrary.

The Democratic Party has taken a hard line on guns recently,with President Obama’s strategist, David Axelrod, joining New York mayorMichael Bloomberg in backing gun control enthusiast Robin Kelly over formerRep. Debbie Halvorson, who has an “A” rating from the National RifleAssociation, in the recent primary to replace former Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. ofIllinois. Kelly has promised to be a “leader” in “banning guns.”

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