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More jobs needed, gun control debate continues

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.
January 30, 2013 2:20:30 PM PST
Jobs are scarce, and guns proliferate.

Both are making news tonight. The nation's Gross Domestic Product grew at a less-than-expected pace in the fourth quarter, presumably thanks to Sandy and to uncertainty over the fiscal cliff. Jobs solve so many problems. Until more jobs are created, the problems will continue. I'm just sayin'.

Guns do not solve problems. And tonight at 11, we're focusing on how people of diametrically opposed positions are trying to deal with the inarguably out-of-control gun problem.

Guns once again the top-of-mind topic in Chicago, Washington, and Newtown.

We woke up to the news today that 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, who last week led a parade in front of the President's viewing stand during the inauguration celebration, was shot and killed in Chicago ? caught in the middle of a gang shootout. Gun violence has been over-the-top deadly in Chicago for the past 2 years. Will this latest killing finally lead to change? Fingers crossed, but the sad truth is, perhaps not.

Guns also front-and-center in Washington, where Congressional hearings are underway into gun violence. Wayne LaPierre of the NRA testified. So did Gabby Giffords, the former Arizona Congresswoman who was shot by a madman two years ago.

She is permanently disabled, but has been re-born as a gun control advocate. "Speaking is difficult," she told the House committee, "but I need to say something important: Violence is a big problem. Too many children are dying. Too many children. It will be hard, but the time is now! You must act! Be bold, be courageous. Americans are counting on you."

Giffords husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, pleaded with Congress to put more heft into the background check laws. "My wife wouldn't have been sitting in this seat today if we had stronger background checks," Kelly said.

Mr. LaPierre's retort? The NRA doesn't support background checks at gun shows.

And in Connecticut tonight, state legislators will meet in Newtown to begin the process of figuring out how to prevent another gun massacre like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Our Jeff Pegues will be there for us, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, our Jim Dolan has an exclusive interview with the pilot of that small plane that crashed into the Hudson River near Yonkers on Sunday. She had just purchased the single-engine plane, and was on a sightseeing flight up the Hudson with one of her student pilots. Fast thinking off-duty cops saved their lives and plucked them from the cold water.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast ? some thunderstorms in the morning for the commute ? and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho (in for Sade) and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER

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