From remarks by Rep. Edward F. Feighan (D-Ohio), sponsor of the Brady handgun control bill, at a Jan. 3 press conference:

The Brady Bill that now is being introduced ... would have, we think, considerable impact in reducing the easy access to handguns. The Brady Bill provides a seven-day waiting period. It allows for an emergency purchase of a gun for those who feel that their lives are immediately threatened. And perhaps most importantly, it allows local law enforcement officers ... to do a background check to determine whether or not an individual has a record of mental instability or criminal record or some other status that would bar that person from owning a handgun... .

There are several factors that I think offer a great deal of optimism this year, the first of which is that the Democratic leadership has committed to us that the Brady Bill will be on the floor of the House early on in the 102nd Congress. In addition to that, I think that there has been a dramatic change in public opinion over the past several years on the issue of gun control. The terrible tragedies that we've seen across this country from Stockton, Calif., to Washington, D.C., have made the public very much aware and very much sensitive to the need for some change in America's gun laws.

In addition to that, I think that we have ironically one of our allies in the National Rifle Association itself, which has through its own irrationality and extremism now demonstrated to the American people that there is no room for compromise with this organization, that there is no willingness to even consider the most moderate, the most rational forms of gun legislation; demonstrated, obviously, through its most recent efforts, its legal maneuverings to make machine gun ownership legal and easy once again.