, Newburyport, MA

Election Connection

July 26, 2012

Tierney, Tisei differ on gun control


The shooting has highlighted the 1994 federal assault weapons ban that outlawed certain types of semi-automatic weapons. The ban expired in 2004, and Congress has not renewed it.

Massachusetts extended the assault weapons ban in the state in 2004.

Police and news reports say the Colorado shooter bought four guns at local gun stores and purchased ammunition and body armor online — all of it legal. The AR-15 assault rifle with a 100-round drum magazine jammed during the attack, however, and some said that may have saved lives.

“Somebody has to make a case why someone who is not in law enforcement or in the military should have that kind of high-capacity magazine,” Tierney said.

Tierney said he supports not only the reinstatement of the federal assault weapons ban, but other “reasonable” measures to make gun ownership safer, such as background checks and regulations on the sale of guns at gun shows and on large volumes of ammunition. He also favors prohibitions on gun trafficking and laws that would require manufacturers to design weapons to prevent injury from a gun discharging accidentally.

So why didn’t Congress reinstate the assault weapons ban, even when Democrats were in the majority? Tierney said the National Rifle Association has a powerful lobby in Congress, and it views any regulation of gun ownership as a slippery slope that would erode Second Amendment rights.

Tisei took a more conservative approach to gun control, saying the nation has plenty of gun laws in place.

Asked if he would support reinstatement of a federal assault weapons ban, Tisei said: “I will be reasonable, and I will look at the issue and I will look at whatever piece of legislation comes before me.”

Still, Tisei questioned why someone should be allowed to buy ammunition over the Internet. And he said it also may make sense to ban certain types of assault weapons.

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