Gun-rights advocates in Senate absent from Sunday shows

December 16, 2012

Senators advocating for gun rights were nowhere to be found on two Sunday morning network news shows that reached out to them, even as senators pressing for more gun control expounded their positions on the same programs. 

Betsy Fischer Martin, executive producer of NBC's "Meet The Press," tweeted Sunday morning that the show “reached out to ALL 31 pro-gun rights Sens in the new Congress to invite them to share their views on @meetthepress - NO takers.”

Over on CBS's "Face The Nation," host Bob Schieffer said: "We tried to get a Republican from the Judiciary Committee, but all of the members were either unavailable or said no."

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), who does not sit on the Judiciary Committee, but was previously scheduled to appear on "Face The Nation," had to cancel her appearance because of a case of laryngitis, a show spokeswoman said. 

The Sunday shows were dominated by discussions about the deadly shooting at a Connecticut school on Friday in which a gunman killed 20 children and six adults. 

On "Meet The Press," Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said she intends to introduce an assault weapons ban at the beginning of the next Congress, while New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I), an outspoken advocate of gun control, called on President Obama to make the issue his top priority in the wake of the mass shooting. On "Face The Nation," Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee and is advocating more gun control, explained why he is optimistic Congress can tackle the issue. 

One Republican who took a starkly different view from gun control advocates was Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), who suggested on "Fox News Sunday" that greater access to guns could help prevent mass killings akin to the Connecticut shooting. 

In a C-SPAN interview taped on Friday, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), the fourth-ranking House Republican, said Congress should be “careful” about suggesting new gun laws.

“We need to look at what drives a crazy person to do these kind of actions and make sure that we’re enforcing the laws that are currently on the books. And yes, definitely, we need to do everything possible to make sure that something like this never happens again,” she said on C-SPAN's “Newsmakers." 

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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Chris Cillizza | December 16, 2012