Change to the nation's gun laws can take place while still respecting the Second Amendment, Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar said Saturday from the sidelines of the March for Our Lives unfolding in Washington, D.C.
"In fact, when you read Justice [Antonin] Scalia's opinion from the Supreme Court about how that amendment applies to individuals, he actually wrote in there that you can have safety rules and regulations," the Minnesota Democrat told CNN.
"No one has seized on that. States can do it. The federal government can do it. So you have a basis of freedom, a constitutional basis to say, yeah, you have the freedom to bear arms and to have guns, but we also have the freedom to protect ourselves with safety rules," she added.
What's needed, she continued, is the "common sense legislation" proposed by two lawmakers with A-rankings from the National Rifle Association, Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa.
That legislation would have closed loopholes for background checks from gun shows and online sales, said Klobuchar.
"I think our laws have to be as sophisticated as those who are trying to get around them," said Klobuchar.
The senator said she is impressed by "energy in the air" from the more than a half-million young people marching in Washington, D.C., Saturday.
"For someone that's worked on this from the time I was a prosecutor with law enforcement, you couldn't get much done then," said Klobuchar. "Then I came to Washington, and the moms from Sandy Hook demanded action with background checks. We were unable to get the political force to get that done."
However, Saturday's marches in Washington and across the country will mark a "tipping point," she said, because "as you look out, the sun shining on over what is expected to be well over 500,000 kids, they had asked questions that adults can't ask, like 'Why can't I go to my school and be safe?'"
Klobuchar noted that there are 13 marches going on in her own state, including in rural areas, and she believes that also marks a change with people.
She did say that she believes President Donald Trump's comments that the Department of Justice will propose to ban bump stocks and will seek feedback from the public while making its final ruling are a "good thing."
The senator pointed out that she sat across Trump in his February meeting, taking place shortly after the Feb. 14 shootings in Parkland, Florida, when he said he'd block bump stocks, even if it took an executive order.
"We were able to do something in this last budget bill to strengthen the background checks, but he also said he wanted to see those universal background checks," said Klobuchar. "He said it to me. He looked around the room, he said it to America. He said it to all these kids that are out here today. So that's what we're waiting on, that he strongly gets behind the universal background checks."
Meanwhile, the issue won't end with Saturday's protests, she said.
"We've had people calling our office about how they can register to vote so they can make sure when they turn 18 they can vote in this next election," Klobucher commented. "I mean, they are mobilized. They understand that while they want to speak out and march, what really matters is them exercising their right at the ballot box."
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