LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Friday called for a federal ban on assault weapons in the wake of a shooting massacre that took place overnight in Aurora, Colorado.
Police in Aurora say a dozen people were killed and 58 others were wounded when a gunman opened fire during the midnight viewing of the new Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises.” Police arrested a suspect, 24-year-old James Holmes.
“Guns have no rational place in our communities,” Villaraigosa said.
The mayor called on lawmakers to “do more than just talk about the pain and sorrow,” of the Colorado shooting massacre.
Villaraigosa, who will chair the Democratic National Convention in September, is calling for a federal ban on assault weapons similar to California’s.
“It’s time for nationwide background checks and waiting periods so guns don’t fall into the wrong hands, criminal hands, only to be used against innocent victims in everyday crimes as
well as mass murders,” said Villaraigosa.
“It’s time for the federal government to again ban these weapons, just like California enacted the nation’s toughest law against assault weapons nearly two decades ago,” said Villaraigosa.
A federal ban on assault weapons passed in 1994, but expired 10 years later and has not been renewed.
Villaraigosa sent condolences on behalf of the city of Los Angeles to the victims and their families and ordered the flags at City Hall to be flown at half-staff until Wednesday.
But Gun Owners of California executive director Sam Paredes called the mayor’s response a “knee-jerk” reaction.
“There’s no question it’s extremely tragic,” said Paredes.
Paredes said there’s “nothing that any law can do will prevent people hell bent on doing these dastardly deeds from doing them.”
The mayor clearly disagrees. “Now, more than ever, we need to address issues surrounding the proliferation of assault weapons in American society,” said Villaraigosa.
Paredes said the media should focus on what caused the suspect to act this way, rather than on what gun he was using during the shooting.
“We need to find out what was the issue that could make somebody like this snap and do something like this,” said Paredes.
“Assault weapons aren’t the problem. People are the problem,” he said.
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