Lawmakers Renew Call To Restore Federal Assault Weapons Ban Following Newtown School Massacre
NEWTOWN, Conn. (CBSNewYork) – Much of the discussion on the Sunday morning talk shows focused on the deadly school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. on Friday.
Lawmakers from Connecticut and elsewhere called for a renewed push to restore the federal assault weapons ban.
WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reports
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has previously said the expiration of the ban has allowed weapons of war back onto the streets.
While Mayor Bloomberg said it is right for President Obama to console the grieving in Newtown, on the assault weapons ban he says it’s time for the president to stand up and lead.
“His views on issues like this are the right views, but the president has to translate those views into action. His job is not just to be well-meaning, his job is to perform and to protect the American public,” said Bloomberg on NBC’s “Meet The Press.”
The federal ban on assault weapons was allowed to lapse in 2004.
Adam Lanza used a Bushmaster .223 assault rifle to kill 26 people inside the school, including 20 children. Police said Lanza did not use the two handguns he also had with him.
The chief medical examiner said many of the victims were shot multiple times.
“This horrible episode and incident and crime by this deranged person, possessed by demons as you have put it, will spur and transform, I think, the national conversation and I intend to talk about it on the floor of the United States Senate, perhaps as early as this week,” Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal said Sunday morning on ABC’s “This Week.”
Other lawmakers, like New York Sen. Charles Schumer, called for specific limits on the size of clips that can be used.
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein announced Sunday that she plans to reintroduce the assault weapons ban in the Senate.
“We’re crafting this one and it’s going to be done with care, it’ll be ready on the first day. I’ll be announcing House authors and we’ll be prepared to go. And I hope the nation will really help,” she told NBC’s “Meet The Press.”
Feinstein also said she is confident the bill will have the support of President Obama, who has previously come out in favor of re-implementing the assault weapons ban.
Other lawmakers laid out plans for further action.
“I think we ought to restore that assault weapons ban because – not to take anyone’s guns away from them that they have now, but to stop the manufacture and sale of those weapons now because look what Lanza did to these poor kids,” independent Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman told Fox News Sunday.
“I think we need a national commission on mass violence, not to be in place of anything else the president or Congress or state governments might want to do, but to make sure that the heartbreak and the anger that we feel now is never dissipated over time or lost in legislative gridlock,” Lieberman added.
Bloomberg last week said the rhetoric has to end and real action has to happen to prevent another massacre like this one from happening again.
“The president, in my view, is the one who has to lead this. The president campaigned in ’08 on an assault weapon ban and the only gun legislation that the president has signed since then, one is the right to carry a gun in national parks where our kids play and one is the right to carry guns on Amtrak. I assume that’s to stop the rash of train robberies which stopped back in the 1800s,” Bloomberg said on Sunday’s “Meet The Press.”
Bloomberg has been an outspoken gun control advocate, even spending his own PAC money to support local candidates around the country who favor gun control.
The mayor also launched a pro-gun control ad campaign featuring a survivor of July’s Aurora, Colo. movie theater shooting rampage.
“The tipping point should have happened a long time ago,” Democratic Connecticut Rep. Chris Murphy said on “This Week.”
Murphy, who last month won the senate race to fill the seat being vacated by the retiring Lieberman, said this shooting incident highlights the need for attention to a series of issues.
“Yes, there needs to be a conversation about gun control, but also about the way we treat mental illness, also about the culture of violence in this country which may have contributed to the way in which this very disturbed young man thought,” he told ABC’s “This Week.”
Bloomberg noted that New York state has some of the toughest gun laws in the country and New York City has the lowest murder rate of any big American city.
Bloomberg is a long-time gun advocate who started “Mayors Against Guns,” which now has more than 700 members. He has been lobbying for:
- Renewal of the assault weapon ban that expired in 2004.
- Required background checks for every gun sold right now — 40 percent of all guns are sold without background checks.
- Stronger enforcement of straw sales, where someone buys a gun for someone not eligible to own one.
- A requirement that states enter criminal and mental health records into the federal background check system.
The mayor said a shooting rampage like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary “only happens in America.”
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