Gun control: Ed Perlmutter will introduce assault weapons ban on day one of Congress
In the days following the movie theater massacre in July, Representative Ed Perlmutter, whose district then included Aurora, was one of the few local politicians who called for a gun policy change: the reinstatement of the assault weapons ban. He's been working on that legislation for months, but given the Connecticut tragedy on Friday, in which the shooter used an assault rifle, Perlmutter now plans to introduce his bill at the very start of the new Congress in January.
James Holmes, charged with the Aurora shootings, was accused of having four guns, including an assault rifle, and more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition. But few Colorado elected officials spoke out about specific gun policies.
At the time, Perlmutter told us that it was a personal challenge for him to talk about legislation in the wake of such a devastating attack so close to home, but that, ultimately, he felt he couldn't ignore the need for this kind of change.
Sam Levin Representative Ed Perlmutter speaking at an Obama rally this fall.
The alleged shooter in last week's unimaginable elementary school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, which claimed the lives of twenty children and six adults, used a semiautomatic Buschmaster .223 rifle.
Perlmutter's office announced yesterday that he plans to introduce a "new, improved Assault Weapons Ban" with Representative Carolyn McCarthy of New York when Congress returns in January. His staff says he is working with members of the House and Senator Diane Feinstein to prepare the bill, which would outlaw the future sale of assault weapons, but, they say, protect the Second Amendment and provide exemptions for firearms used for sport, hunting and personal defense.
Perlmutter's bill will be the companion measure to a bill that will be introduced in the Senate by Feinstein, of California, who recently announced that she would bring this bill forward on the very first day possible.
"We had been working on it all fall," says Leslie Oliver, spokeswoman and policy director for Perlmutter. "We knew [we would introduce it]...early, it was just a matter of, are we ready to go? And I think Friday really sort of solidified that it's time."
She adds, "It should be dropped on January 3."
Just like the Aurora shooting, this latest shooting has been difficult for Perlmutter personally, Oliver says.
"Like most people in the country, it's raw still and it's very emotional," she says. "It does bring back everything that happened in Aurora, everything that happened with Gabby Giffords, everything that happened in Columbine. This is an issue that keeps coming up and he just feels very strongly that we have to act on this and it's Congress' responsibility to act. He's ready to take it on."
Continue for more on other gun control measures under discussion in the wake of the Newtown tragedy.