Daniel Hernandez, rightly lauded as a hero for saving the life of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords during the shooting in Tucson, has stepped forward on the public policy issue of gun control, supporting a variety of changes to gun laws along the lines of what several lawmakers have proposed.
Daniel Hernandez, the intern who rushed to treat Giffords (D-Ariz.) after she was shot Jan. 8 in Tucson, is endorsing a new proposal from Mayors Against Illegal Guns that will require states to report mental-health cases to a federal database designed to screen gun purchases.
He will sit with Michelle Obama on Tuesday when her husband delivers the State of the Union address.
“It is my hope that President Obama and Congress will work together right away to reform our gun background-check system so that all records of dangerous people are in the system and all gun buyers will have to pass a thorough background check,” Hernandez said Monday in a statement.
Such changes should “be done in a way that does not infringe on Second Amendment rights,” he added, “so that responsible citizens may exercise their right to bear arms.”
This change would close the “gun show loophole,” which enables people to purchase firearms at gun shows without a background check. Another proposal would ban the type of high-capacity clips used by Jared Loughner in his rampage a few weeks ago.
The White House has been very tight-lipped about whether President Obama will even mention gun control in his speech. Daniel Hernandez, who will sit in the First Lady’s box, has already made his preference known.
While it doesn’t seem possible at this stage for these changes to get through a Republican House, recall that even Dick Cheney, who voted against the most obvious gun control measures while in the House in the 1980s, came out basically in favor of banning the high-capacity clips. The NRA vociferously opposes that, probably because gun sales executives who profit off those clips sit on their board and raise millions of dollars for them. If anything, this is even more true of the gun show loophole.
[Programming note: FDL will have team coverage of tonight’s state of the Union, with liveblogs of the President’s speech, as well as both Republican responses, starting at 9pm Eastern time.]