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Congress Reacts: Dems Propose Gun Restrictions & Ban on 'Threatening Language or Symbols


Just hours after six were killed and 14 others injured in Saturday's horrific shooting incident in Arizona, politicians 2,300 miles away in Washington, D.C. began plotting a legislative response.

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., one of Congress' fiercest gun control advocates, is looking to strike while the iron is hot. "My staff is working on looking at the different legislation fixes that we might be able to do and we might be able to introduce as early as tomorrow," McCarthy told Politico Sunday. Rep. McCarthy said that she plans to meeting with House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to see "if we can work something through" this week.

At the same time, another New York Democrat is blaming the pro-gun community for Saturday's violent shooting. In a statement Sunday, Rep. Carolyn Maloney exclaimed that "guns kill" and that "those who glamorize gunplay or worship gun ownership do no service to humanity."

"Democracy triumphs. The fundamental wisdom that has long distinguished our nation and has led her to greatness resides in our unwavering commitment to settle our differences with ballots, not bullets," she said. "While it is too early to come to any conclusions about the causes or consequences of yesterday's tragic events, it is never too late to reflect on lessons we have learned from earlier such tragedies, and take them to heart."

While Maloney and McCarthy are focusing their efforts on restricting access to guns, Pennsylvania Rep. Robert Brady, a Democrat from Philadelphia, is proposing new limits on free speech. On Sunday, Brady told CNN that he plans to introduce a bill that would make it a crime for anyone to use language or symbols that could be perceived as threatening or violent against a federal official.

Brady told CNN Sunday that federal lawmakers and other government officials should have the same protections against rhetorical threats as the president, whose threats are monitored by the U.S. Secret Service.

"The president is a federal official," Brady said. "You can't do it to him; you should not be able to do it to a congressman, senator or federal judge."

"This is not a wake up call, this is major alarms going off," he said.

In particular, Brady says he takes specific offense to the electoral map produced by Sarah Palin's political action committee during the 2010 midterm election which "targeted" a number of key swing districts. "You can't put bulls eyes or crosshairs on a United States congressman or a federal official," Brady said. "I understand this web site that had it on there is no longer in existence. Someone is feeling a little guilty."

As we've reported, one Palin aide spoke out publicly Sunday about the backlash the former Alaska governor has received since Saturday's shooting. “This is a terrible politicization of a tragedy,” Rebecca Mansour said. “We don’t know (the shooter’s) motive. It doesn’t seem like he was motivated by a political ideology. Craziness is not an ideology."

Brady insisted he was not "pointing at any particular party," but stressed that politicians with opposing views should be able to "disagree without being disagreeable."

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