Debbie Wasserman Schultz holds gun control forum

US rep, doctors talk gun control in Pembroke Pines

Published On: Feb 19 2013 09:38:01 PM EST
PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. -

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz held a roundtable discussion Tuesday with gun control advocates and medical professionals in Pembroke Pines.

Last month, Wasserman Schultz met with South Florida police chiefs, mayors, and others to discuss ways to curb rising gun violence. She also met with gun owners at separate roundtable.

"Keeping children and Americans safe knows no party," said Wasserman Shultz.

On Tuesday, she met with doctors, a psychologist, a youth gang specialist, and others who support laws to limit the availability of guns.

"We are focused on the single issue of keeping guns out of the deranged, the criminal, and the irresponsible," said Sunrise Mayor Mike Ryan. "Together, we believe the momentum is there."

The National Rifle Association says additional gun laws won't prevent mass shootings like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

"Gun laws work. I saw that for 25 years," said David Chipman, a retired agent of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. "Background checks work. In states that have background checks, there are 48 percent fewer suicides."

Last week, President Barack Obama visited the Chicago high school attended by 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, who was killed by gunfire last month after returning from taking part in inaugural activities in Washington.

Javier Machado with the Youth Gang Resource Center said gang members often use straw buyers to obtain firearms.

"These are not individuals who are going to gun shows to purchase, to go through the three-day wait period to purchase guns," he said.

Megan Hobson, who was injured in a drive-by shooting in April 2012, attended the president's State of the Union with Wasserman Schultz. Dr. Peter Antevy treated Hobson at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital.

"It's not a left or right issue. Like the mayor said, it's not a red or blue issue," said Antevy. "We are here because we want to save innocent lives," said Antevy.

"The majority of NRA members believe these are commonsense steps that should be taken," said Wasserman Schultz.

Polls show a majority of NRA members support universal background checks and limiting the number of rounds a magazine can hold.