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Connecticut shooting spurs debate on gun control

6:23 AM, Dec 17, 2012   |    comments
Newtown, Connecticut shooting spurs debate on gun control
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Newtown, Connecticut, shooting is prompting lawmakers to revisit the idea of gun law reform just months after 12 were killed in the Colorado theater massacre. Locals on the First Coast are also joining in on the debate.

"They can make all the gun laws they want, it's already against the law to murder," says Victor Bean, promoter of the Southern Classic Gun and Knife Show.

The heated debate is also shooting through social media after what is being called the largest massacre of school-age children in the nation's history.

"All of the recent tragedies have been by people that really love their guns," says local Attorney John Phillips.

Phillips joined the cause for gun control after the recent death of local teenager Jordan Davis who was shot and killed in a moment of altercation. The suspected shooter is reported to be an avid gun user.

"Legal gun owners are now being a challenge to the system, NRA or not, and that's part of the problem, you know we're not dealing with the model of illegal guns getting in and people getting killed with illegal guns, all of these were bought and sold," says Phillips.

Law enforcement say the four weapons used in the Colorado theater massacre were all obtained legally. And even though that's the same case for the weapons involved in the Connecticut shooting, they fell in the hands of a 20-year-old with reported mental health issues.

"They have some of the strongest anti-gun laws in the nation along with New Jersey and they still obtained the gun and committed the crime," says Bean.

Connecticut law requires residents be at least 21 to apply for a permit to buy a gun and they have to wait a 14-day period for state and federal background checks. In Florida, you don't need a permit to purchase a gun, but need to clear the background check and wait 72 hours. The laws vary from state to state, but some members of Congress are making a national push to ban the sale of military style assault weapons.

"They've been building these guns for 70, 80 years," says Bean. "The guns really haven't changed much, they just look different. They're cosmetically different, but other than that the only thing that's gotten a little different is the mentality of some of the criminals and the crimes that have taken place," says Bean.

First For You, we took a look at our First Coast Congressmen and women and Senators to find out what their positions have been on gun control.

Democratic Representative Corrine Brown of District 3 voted "no" on decreasing the gun waiting period from three days to one.

Both Republican Representatives, John Mica of District 7 and Ander Crenshaw of District 4, co-sponsored legislation banning the gun registration and trigger lock law in D.C. in 2007 which repealed the ban on semi-automatic weapons.

Republican Ron DeSantis of the newly drawn sixth congressional district stood firm on not making changes to gun control during his campaign this year after the Colorado theater shooting.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio has not released a statement on the proposals, but has been known to be pro-gun rights. Senator Bill Nelson voted in favor of renewing a ban on assault weapons. A spokesperson from his office says he will consider favorably any proposal brought forward in Congress that reinstates that ban.

First Coast News

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