Wednesday in politics: Gun violence hearing, and more

Phil Pruitt

Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, and gun-control advocates, including the husband of wounded former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, testify Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee at a hearing on gun violence.

In testimony prepared for the hearing, the Associated Press reports, LaPierre expressed support for better enforcement of existing laws, beefing up school security and strengthening the government's ability to keep guns from mentally unstable people.

"The time has come to change course," Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., one of Congress' leading gun-control advocates and a member of the committee, said Tuesday. "And the time has come to make people safe."

Feinstein has introduced legislation banning assault weapons and magazines of more than 10 rounds of ammunition, and President Barack Obama has proposed the same bans, along with background checks on all firearms purchases.

The hearing is in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 children and six adults dead.

Obama will discuss immigration reform Wednesday in interviews with Jose Diaz Balart of Telemundo and Maria Elena Salinas of Univision. Obama unveiled his ideas for reform in a speech Tuesday in Las Vegas. He said a comprehensive immigration bill must give most of the nation's 11 million illegal immigrants a chance to earn their citizenship gradually if they pay a fine, learn English and pass a background check.

Also worth noting Wednesday: Sen. John Kerry will deliver his farewell address to the Senate after being confirmed Tuesday as the next secretary of state, and the Federal Reserve will announce its latest interest rate decision.

And then there is this: Former Vice President Dick Cheney turns 72 Wednesday.

Sources: Yahoo News’ The Ticket, Yahoo News reporter Liz Goodwin, Associated Press, and Reuters.