Connecticut shooting sparks calls for gun control legislation

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California leaders have called for tighter gun laws in the wake of the Sandy Hook school massacre in Connecticut.

The shooting in Newtown, Conn., left 28 dead, including 26 elementary school students and staff. The gunman also killed his mother and himself.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein pledged Sunday that she would introduce new gun-control legislation at the beginning of next year’s congressional session.

PHOTOS: Shooting at Connecticut elementary school


“It [the bill] will ban the sale, the transfer, the transportation and the possession,” the California senator said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “Not retroactively, but prospectively. And it will ban the same for big clips, drums or strips of more than 10 bullets.”

Feinstein said the purpose of her proposal, a version of the assault-weapons ban that expired in 2004, is to get “weapons of war off the streets of our cities.”

According to PolitiCal, state Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) called the incident the most shocking in a series of shootings this year, including a rampage in July in which a gunman killed 12 people in a Colorado movie theater.

WHO THEY WERE: Connecticut school shooting victims

‘My thoughts and prayers go out to the children and families of Newtown,’ Yee said in a statement. ‘While we do not have all the details behind this senseless and unconscionable massacre, it is a sad and horrific reminder of what is possible when guns get into the wrong hands. We must limit access to weapons that can result in such catastrophe and mass murder.’

On Saturday, all four candidates for Los Angeles mayor called for the renewal of the expired federal assault weapons ban.

The mayoral debate, hosted by KABC-TV Channel 7, opened with a moment of silence for the victims of the Friday shooting before the moderator asked each candidate what they would do to reduce gun violence.

FULL COVERAGE: Connecticut school shooting

City Council members Eric Garcetti and Jan Perry, City Controller Wendy Greuel and talk radio host Kevin James each said the federal assault weapons ban, which was allowed to expire in 2004, should be renewed.

‘As Americans, and as a father, all of our hearts ache today for Newtown,’ said Garcetti, who called for an immediate dialogue about gun control. Rejecting arguments that a national conversation about gun violence must wait until after people have recovered from the tragedy, Garcetti said now is ‘precisely’ the time for that conversation.

‘It’s time to take this conversation national,’ he said.

Greuel said the first thing she wanted to do after hearing the news was hug her son, who is in fourth grade. She called for a renewal of the assault weapons ban and recalled a family member who was killed during a home invasion.

‘It’s not as easy to get mental health service as it is guns,’ she said. ‘We need to change that.’

Perry called renewal of the assault weapons ban the first step toward curbing gun violence.

‘I’ve represented South L.A. for the last 11 years, and I know far too well the effect gun violence can have on a family and on a city,’ Perry said. She stressed the need to explain to people that gun violence isn’t just a problem in urban and poor areas.

‘If there is a lesson we can learn form what happened in Connecticut, it’s that if one person gets hurt, we all get hurt.’

James, who is running as a City Hall outsider and is the sole Republican in the race, agreed that the assault weapons ban must be renewed but also took his opponents to task for their failure to curb gun violence in L.A. during their time in office.

He vowed to work to improve school safety and improve the keeping of mental health records.

FULL COVERAGE: Connecticut school shooting

‘My opponents have failed on these issues,’ James said, before promising to curb the ability of those with mental health problems to get guns. ‘I will appoint a police chief that must support and implement the use of psychological testing for conceal and carry permits.’


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-- Wesley Lowery and Chris Megerian Follow Wesley Lowery on Twitter and Google+.