Gun reform debate on Capitol Hill

By: Rebecca Turco

Email: rturco@abc6.com

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The gun debate has been reignited on Capitol Hill, days after a mass shooting in Orlando killed 49 people.

Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy waged a nearly 15-hour filibuster from Wednesday into Thursday, pushing for expanded background checks and a ban on gun sales to suspected terrorists. "I know that we can come together on this issue," he said.

More than 30 Democrats, including Rhode Island and Massachusetts’ senators, joined him. "We have to do it, it’s long overdue,” RI Sen. Jack Reed said. “The time is now."

Local gun enthusiasts beg to differ. "Criminals don’t follow the law, so making laws to get guns out of the hands of criminals doesn’t make any sense,” explained Craig Lebeau of Sakonnet River Outfitters in Tiverton.

Lebeau also can’t wrap his head around talks of banning assault rifles, like the one used in the Orlando shooting. "Saying ‘assault rifle’ is a political move because any rifle…is just a rifle,” he said. “It becomes an assault rifle if I use it to assault."

He feels lawmakers should discuss particulars with gun enthusiasts to learn more about the different types of weapons before deciding to ban them outright.

Meanwhile, Reed feels a renewed ban on these kinds of rifles is the way to go. "There’s no illusion for us,” Reed said. “These were designed for high rates of fire, even semi-automatic. They were designed for lethality."

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