U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, who serves the seventh district, reiterated his support for federal gun control efforts during a phone conference town hall meeting Friday.
“On one side of the district is Columbine and on the other side of the district is Aurora,” Perlmutter said. “I was going to too many funerals last July and visited with families, first responders, law enforcement officers and medical staff. It was a very horrible, gruesome situation and murders that were done with an assault rifle and some other weapons with high-capacity magazines.”
The mobile town hall meeting — which included about 11,000 residents — followed his announcement a few hours earlier to become the co-sponsor in the House of Representatives for the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013, which would prohibit 157 specific weapons and ammunition magazines that have more than 10 rounds. Perlmutter supports banning some assault rifles, semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.
The bill was introduced to the Senate by California Sen. Dianne Feinstein and was expected to be introduced to the House of Representatives this week as of press time on Jan. 28.
“The terrible toll that it takes on individuals, families and communities have to be considered when you’re looking at this,” Perlmutter said. “These 150 types of weapons should really be in the hands of military and law enforcement personnel — they’re not meant for self-defense or hunting. We don’t want to do anything to the Second Amendment rights of those who want to hunt or need something for self-defense, but these are really for military or law enforcement.”
During the bill’s introduction, Perlmutter read a letter crafted and signed by 14 relatives of seven moviegoers killed in the Aurora theater shooting.
“Our loved ones were gunned down and an entire generation of our families taken away in a matter of seconds,” the letter read in part. “We listened to the 911 tapes played in court and sat in agony as we heard 30 shots fired within 27 seconds, wondering if one of those bullets killed our children.”
Under the proposed bill, Perlmutter said gun owners who now own an assault weapon will be allowed to keep it but will be subject to a background check, if they choose to sell or transfer it to another person.
Perlmutter said the bill is particularly important because it would close loopholes left in the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which barred the future manufacturing of 19 specific semi-automatic firearms and banned the possession of magazines holding more than ten ammunition rounds.
“It’s going to be a very difficult bill to pass,” Perlmutter said. “I don’t want anybody to have any illusions about that. There is a lot of work to be done, but I am supportive of that and will work on behalf of those families from Aurora and Newtown.”