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Higgins recommends Congress hold hearings on gun control issue and policy

WBFO file photo/Chris Caya

Congressman Brian Higgins, when pressed about the gun control debate, suggested lawmakers need to hold formal hearings in order to come up with a smart, reasonable and genuine response to gun violence.

The Buffalo Democrat, when asked about his thoughts on the gun debate following the February 14 mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida high school, said most gun owners are responsible and most favor some sort of background check to acquire firearms.

But he believes in order for Congress to provide a responsible, comprehensive and effective response, they should hold formal bipartisan hearings and listen to experts, including police.

"They are a very powerful voice," Higgins said. "They are on the ground dealing with these issues each and every day. Not to meaningfully take into consideration their views on these issues, I think, is very shortsighted."

What also needs to be looked at more closely, he admitted, is how a system failed to prevent the alleged Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter, Nikolas Cruz, from carrying out his attack even after documented warnings he might pose a serious risk to public safety. 

Higgins was asked about the argument that instead of passing new gun laws, more effort should be put toward enforcing existing legislation. He dismissed that point of view and explained why.

"What's happened historically, and what's happened now, is when there was a gun tragedy - I'm talking prior to the last decade - it seemed as though every state was enacting new laws. But when you look at the compilation of those laws, rarely would they have avoided the tragedy that influenced the enactment of that law in the first place," he replied. "That's why I think you need a really thoughtful approach here."

Higgins also expressed his opposition to the idea of arming schoolteachers, calling it "asinine."

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