Schumer: Newtown could be "tipping point" for gun control


(CBS News) Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., a gun control advocate, said on CBS News' "Face the Nation" today that the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., might lead to a larger discussion on gun control.

"We could be at a tipping point...where we might actually get something done," Schumer said.

He said politicians and the American public might have an appetite for a debate on gun control because mass shootings are becoming "a new normal" and because Friday's incident, where 27 people were killed, "involved children."

Schumer admits the two sides of the debate, with the left on one side and the right, led by the National Rifle Association on the other, has been "gridlocked."

After the massacre at the movie theater in Aurora, Colo., which took place during the peak of the presidential campaign season, politicians ignored calls to debate the gun issue. And after the largest mass murder rampage, which took place at Virginia Tech in 2007, gun control proponents saw little movement in efforts to tamp down on the proliferation of guns.

On Sunday, however, Schumer said "we could get something done," but only if the paradigm of the debate shifts. He said gun control advocates on the left must acknowledge that the Second Amendment allows the right to bear arms and that the right must stop engendering fear in gun owners that the gun control advocates want to take away all guns.

"Face the Nation" invited on politicians who oppose gun control, including representatives from the NRA, but they declined the program's requests.

Schumer said his proposals would not interfere with the Second Amendment but would offer protections. He proposes a reinstatement of the assault weapons ban, a limit to the size of clips available for purchase and restrictions placed on the mentally unstable from obtaining guns.

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