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Fueled By Angry Politicians, Gun Control Debate Takes Off In New Jersey

'Mayors Against Illegal Guns' Want Criminal Background Checks On All Sales
Handguns

Handguns (credit: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

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Tragedy In Newtown

CRANFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – There’s a big push on for gun control in the Garden State, led by a group of mayors and parents who’ve lost their children to gun violence.

On the one-month anniversary of the Newtown school massacre, an angry sheriff in New Jersey and a heartbroken father of a Virginia Tech shooting victim were calling for a ban on high-capacity magazines and military style assault weapons.

“In 12 to 15 seconds you can have 30 rounds spraying through that room. That means no time for those brave teachers to get their children out of the line of fire,” Union County Sheriff Ralph Froehlich told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan.

Michael Pohle’s son was about to graduate from Virginia Tech six years ago when he and 31 others were gunned down. The suspect trapped them inside by chaining classrooms.

“He was killed by a madman carrying a semi-automatic Glock 9 millimeter with a 25-bullet capacity magazine,” Michael Pohle said. “Unfortunately, he did not die instantly. He bled to death.”

Pohle and the sheriff, along with dozens of New Jersey mayors and a former governor, are now demanding criminal background checks for all gun sales. They said people who buy weapons at gun shows or online go unchecked.

“If someone’s name is on the terrorist watch list we can stop them from going on a plane, but we can’t stop them from buying a gun. It makes no sense,” former governor Jim Florio said.

Their group, “Mayors Against Illegal Guns,” is also releasing a television ad featuring families of gun violence.

“Our message when we go to Washington – ‘Pass sane gun laws now,’” Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr said.

They say 100 new members in 44 states have joined their group since the Newtown shootings, but legal gun owners say people kill people — not guns.

“I don’t think we should have our guns taken away from them, according to the amendments of the United States,” gun owner Len Buniewski said.

The mayors who gathered in Cranford will be going to Capitol Hill on Wednesday to demand uniform gun laws across the nation.

On Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden will present to President Barack Obama his task force’s recommendations for curbing gun violence.

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