The first congressional hearings on gun violence in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre got under way in Washington Wednesday, chaired by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy.
In his opening statement, Leahy said America's heart was broken by the Newtown shootings. He noted his own gun ownership in saying that new gun regulations like better background checks will not threaten 2nd Amendment rights to own a gun.
"Second Amendment rights are the foundation on which our discussion rests. They are not at risk. But lives are at risk when responsible people fail to stand up for laws that will keep guns out of the hands of those who will use them to commit murder, especially mass murder," said Leahy, D-Vermont.
Current law requires anyone buying a gun from a licensed dealer to get a background check to screen out convicted criminals and people with mental health problems. Leahy supports the president's call to extend those checks to gun shows and other private gun sales.