Last Friday’s massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., has prompted one local lawmaker to take up the charge to push Congress to pass two proposed gun control acts.
U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, says it’s time for Congress to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines along with them. She’s also urging Congress to close a loophole that allows the immediate sale of weapons at gun shows.
“There is no reason people need access to assault weapons and high-capacity magazines,” Castor said in a statement posted on her website. “Commonsense regulation is appropriate. It is time for us as a Congress and as a nation to take swift action. Congress should consider and pass the assault weapons ban this week.”
Castor is the co-sponsor of two separate gun-related bills in Congress at this time, according to the website:
- H.R. 308, the Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act. This legislation would ban ammunition magazines that have a capacity of more than 10 rounds of ammunition. This was law until 2004 as part of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban.
- H.R. 1781, the Fix Gun Checks Act. This bill would ensure all individuals who should be prohibited from buying a firearm are listed in the national instant criminal background check system. Additionally, a background check will be required for every firearm sale.
According to Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics, homicides have been on a decline in the United States since 2006. In that year, there were 15,087 homicides; 10,225 involved a firearm as a weapon. In 2010, the overall number of homicides dropped to 12,996. The number of cases involving firearms was 8,775. By 2011, the number of cases classified as “murder and non-negligent manslaughter” by the FBI had dropped to 13,913.
Other weapons commonly used in homicides, according to the FBI, include knifes and other cutting instruments; blunt objects; fire and narcotics. In 2010, personal weapons, which include hands, fists and feet, were tied to 745 homicides.
Here’s what we’d like to hear from you on Tampa Bay: Should Congress ban assault weapons immediately? Do you think a ban would have any effect on the country’s homicide statistics or would the bad guys just find other ways to commit crimes? Would a ban be an infringement on Constitutional rights? Share your thoughts in the comments section.