Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) called on Congress Tuesday to renew a federal ban on assault weapons in the wake of the deadly theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., that killed 12 people and wounded 58 others.
While acknowledging that the federal ban, which was allowed to expire in 2004, and other proposals – such as bill that would ban high-capacity ammunition magazines – “will not stop all mass killings, or even all mass shootings,” Schiff said in a statement Tuesday that some common sense steps could be taken “to make these types of shootings more rare and less destructive.”
“We must also examine legislation to close the gun show loopholes and crack down on straw purchasing, both of which help divert guns out of legal channels and into black markets where they are easily obtained by criminals and the mentally ill,” he said.
The suspect in the shooting, James E. Holmes, used an AR-15 assault-style rifle with a magazine that could hold as many as 100 rounds. But when that weapon jammed, authorities said, he switched to a less powerful weapon.
He also carried a 12-gauge shotgun and a Glock .40-caliber pistol, authorities say.
Police said they recovered a second Glock from the suspect's car.
Schiff conceded that those who want to carry out mass killings can do so even without assault weapons – such as a bomb – but said “it is also true that we do not need to make such killing easy.”
“I do not believe that anything in the Second Amendment, or any desire to hunt or for self-protection requires ready access to assault weapons with extended ammunition clips," Schiff said.
But on Capitol Hill, the renewed push for gun control laws has been met with muted response, underscoring the long odds advocates of tighter controls face. The Republican-controlled House has supported National Rifle Assn. efforts to expand gun rights, and many Democrats are skittish about taking up the issue as they court rural votes.
"The White House has made clear they're not going to use this horrific event to push for new legislation. I agree,’’ House SpeakerJohn A. Boehner(R-Ohio) said Tuesday.
-- Jason Wells, Times Community News, with reporting by Los Angeles Times staff writers