In the wake of last week’s shooting tragedy in Newtown, Conn. many gun rights supporters have indicated a willingness to consider new forms of gun control, but many Republicans remain opposed to a reintroduction of the assault weapons ban.
The prohibition was in effect from 1994 until 2004, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has announced that she will introduce a bill to revive it.
But Republicans are hesitant, Politico reports
. “[An assault ban] won’t fix it. We’ve seen that movie before,” Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., said, according to the news service. “You’ve got to find out who has access to those guns, especially where people are irrational, deranged and so forth. How do you define assault weapon? It’s very difficult.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., agrees. An assault weapons ban “doesn’t make sense to me,” he said. “The worst thing we can do is create false sense of security. Every bad event in the world can’t be fixed by government action. The question for me is how to prevent mass murder?”
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has adopted a cautious approach. Gun control can be considered, but he said he remains committed to “continue to protect what is a constitutional right.” It’s important to remember that the effectiveness of gun control laws is limited, he says. “Criminals by definition do not follow the law.”
Gun control means little without treating people with mental disorders, E. Fuller Torrey and Doris Fuller of the Treatment Advocacy Center write in The Wall Street Journal. “The heart of this problem is not the availability of weapons, but the abundance of individuals with severe mental disorders who are not being treated, they say.
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