That's why New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly says that though he appreciates the sentiment behind that new gun control legislation announced last week by California Democratic U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein that would ban assault weapons, that's not the biggest challenge his offices face in the country's largest city.
"For us in New York City and, I believe in most urban centers throughout America, the problem really is concealable handguns," Kelly told CBS's Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation on Sunday. "Only 2 percent of the people that we've arrested for guns in the last two years have had assault weapons. We don't want them on the streets, make no mistake about it. The problem is the handgun. 60 percent of the murders in New York City are put by handguns, and we simply have too many of them. .."
Feinstein announced legislation last week that calls for banning more than 150 types of assault weapons along with certain high-capacity gun magazine.
When asked what he'd like to see Congress enact when it comes to new gun regulations, Kelley said he backed a universal gun background check, which appears to be the most politically viable proposal being discussed at this time. "About six million were estimated to be have been sold last year without a background check," Kelley said, adding that it would also allow law enforcement to crack down on straw purchases. That's where somebody legally buys a gun and then sells it to somebody who legally couldn't pass a background check.
Other provisions in Feinstein's bill include requiring background checks on all future transfers of assault weapons covered under the bill and eliminating the 10-year sunset that allowed the 1994 assault weapons ban to expire in 2004.
However the bill exempts more than 2,200 hunting and sporting weapons; any gun manually operated by a bolt, pump, lever or slide action; any weapons used by government officials and law enforcement; and any weapons legally owned as of the date of the bill's enactment.
On Sunday the New York Times featured on their front page a story about how the firearms industry has poured millions of dollars into a broad campaign to get guns into the hands of kids.
On CNN's State of the Union, Feinstein referred to that story when asked by CNN's Candy Crowley if she believes the National Rifle Association 'venal?'
"The NRA has become an institution of gun manufacturers," she responded. "This morning on the front page of the New York Times, I was reading about their program now to provide weapons and training for youngsters from 8 years old to 15 years old, and this is supported by the gun manufacturers. In other words, ‘Here is a whole new group of people for me to get these weapons to.’”
Back on Face The Nation, Tennessee Republican Congresswomen Marsha Blackburn disagreed with such talk, saying that there needs to be more discussion and emphasis on things like mental health and psychotropic drugs.
"I understand the Senator's passion for this, but I gotta tell you. An assault ban is not the answer to helping people stay safe."