by Jeremy Moule
Representative Louise Slaughter says she wants Congress to re-enact a federal assault weapons ban.
Discussion about the legality and availability of rapid-fire weapons has spiked following the tragic shooting of 20 children and six adults at a Connecticut elementary school last Friday. Police and media reports say that the shooter, identified as Adam Lanza, used a Bushmaster .223 rifle, which looks like it'd be more at home on the battlefield than at a deer hunt.
During a conference call with media this afternoon, Slaughter said "there is no reason on earth for anybody to own a military weapon." She put her support behind Senator Dianne Feinstein, who has called for the re-authorization of the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004. Feinstein was the original author of that bill.
Slaughter says it's important for the ban to address not just the weapons, but high-capacity magazines. Lanza had several 30-round magazines for the rifle, which the Hartford Courant says didn't even fall under Connecticut's ban. (New York has a ban on magazines that fit more than 10 rounds, but there are loopholes and grey areas in that law. New York has its own assault weapons ban.)
The last attempt to reinstate the federal assault weapons ban took place in 2008 and pro-gun members of the House were able to shut it down, Slaughter said. She said that there now may be bipartisan will to pass legislation.
"I think the country's different," Slaughter said. "I believe their constituents are going to demand it."