Mon July 23, 2012

Politicians Split On Gun Laws Following Shootings

Some politicians are already calling for stricter gun laws in the wake of last week’s deadly shootings in Aurora, but several Colorado lawmakers say it’s still too soon to say what the policy impacts could be.

House minority leader Mark Ferrandino (D-Denver) attended Sunday’s vigil for the victims and their families. In the face of tragedy, he says it’s natural to try and look for policy answers.

“People are starting to ask the question how do we prevent this, what are the solutions if there are any,” says Ferrandino. “And I think those conversations are starting.”

The alleged gunman, 24-year-old James Holmes, amassed more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition on the Internet prior to the shooting. He used an assault rifle, a shotgun, a handgun and pistol—all of which were purchased legally over the last several months.

"Evil exists in the world and laws are probably not going to do much more than just mitigate it..."

Ferrandino says lawmakers definitely need to look at the policies surrounding everything that’s happened and expects those debates to happen during the next legislative session.

Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-Aurora) has been a long-time supporter of a federal assault weapons ban. But it’s not clear if local politicians would want to go that route.

“Evil exists in the world and laws are probably not going to do much more than just mitigate it, and in many cases not even that,” says State senator Greg Brophy (R-Wray).

Some states, including Massachusetts and Illinois, have restrictions on ammunition sales over the Internet. But here, too, Brophy cautions his fellow state lawmakers against introducing such legislation in Colorado.

“I seriously doubt there is any way to really change the policy to make it impossible for something like this to happen,” says Brophy. 

For now, politicians say they are simply shocked, saddened and disgusted by the shooting and want to focus on helping the victims and community of Aurora recover.

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