By Justin Sink
The pair propose a set of principles that seek to find a middle ground between the proposals outlined by the White House and the National Rifle Association's (NRA) insistence that no new gun-control measures are needed.
"There is no one single cause of gun violence and no single solution," the pair write. "That will mean determining if there is any reason for weapons to have magazines that hold 30 rounds or more. It will mean assessing whether armor-piercing bullets — opposed by police chiefs around the country — should be legal. And it will mean considering strengthening background checks."
"That’s why we think parents should spend less time leaving their children alone playing shoot-’em-up video games and more time with them doing activities they both enjoy," the pair writes. "This includes taking children into the country to hunt and to gain, as we did as boys, a love for the abundance and beauty of nature as well as a respect for the responsible and legitimate use of guns."
They also argue that partisans on both sides need to employ more "common sense."
"We must get away from a mindset that has owners of firearms worried that 'they are going to take our guns away.' The Second Amendment guarantees that won’t happen," Baker and Dingell write.
The op-ed comes ahead of Wednesday's first congressional hearing on new gun-control laws in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), the victim of an assassination attempt, is expected to testify, as is National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre.
The Senate hearing was called in response to the mass shooting last month at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 schoolchildren and six employees dead. Since then, President Obama has called for a package of new gun controls that includes universal background checks, a ban on so-called "assault weapons" and high-capacity magazines, as well as funding for additional research into gun violence.