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Colorado’s congressional delegation eyes gun control

Sen. Mark Udall: “We simply must do everything we can to ensure these military-grade weapons are never in the hands of those who would turn them against their community.”

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — As political momentum for addressing gun violence grows, U.S. Sen. Mark Udall came out in favor of a ban on military grade weapons as part of a comprehensive approach to tackling the problem.

Congressman Ed Perlmutter, representing Colorado’s 7th Congressional District, has already announced that he will introduce a bill that would ban assault weapons.

“It’s time to do more. It is Congress’ responsibility to lead, and it’s time for me to take action,” Perlmutter said in a statement. “This is about crime control and doing what we can to deter and prevent the kinds of tragedies we’ve experienced all too often in the last few years.

I’ve heard from so many law enforcement officers, people in my district and across Colorado and the country who want us to move forward in a responsible way limiting access to weapons belong on battlefields,” he said Our plan to renew the assault weapons ban takes these dangerous ‘weapons of war’ off the streets while protecting the rights of responsible gun owners and keeping our citizens safe.”

Perlmutter wil co-sponsor the bill with Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy, an outspoken gun control advocate from New York.

Clearly sensitive to the fact that Colorado is a pro-gun state, Udall said he recognizes that that there is a long-standing tradition of gun ownership for hunting, outdoor recreation and self-defense, but said that tradition must be tempered to keep children out of harm’s way.

Udall’s statement:

“As a Coloradan who had school-age children during the Columbine shooting and grieved alongside the victims of the Aurora tragedy this past summer, I have been shaken to the core by last week’s mass shooting at the Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school. Families across our state have been deeply affected in a profound way, and it is an emotional time for us as a country. It is also a time that we must come together and have a serious discussion about concrete steps we can take to help prevent mass gun violence from happening ever again.

“A number of my colleagues in Congress have proposed ideas already, including banning assault weapons. We all recognize that Colorado and our nation have a long and storied tradition of gun ownership for hunting, outdoor recreation and self-defense. However, I am not convinced that combat weapons are necessarily part of that heritage. There are legitimate questions about the effectiveness of a ban on military-grade weapons, but I believe that a multi-faceted approach, including a ban on such weapons, can be crafted that works for Colorado sportsmen, preserves our heritage, and can and will help save lives. But the details matter, and I intend to work with law enforcement, sportsmen and anyone else who agrees that we must respect the Second Amendment while also keeping our children out of harm’s way. We simply must do everything we can to ensure these military-grade weapons are never in the hands of those who would turn them against their community.

“I believe President Obama’s plan to create a wide ranging set of recommendations makes a lot of sense, because no single policy is going to be adequate in preventing gun tragedies in the future. We need comprehensive — not piecemeal — solutions that examine our culture’s glorification of violence, the effectiveness of our laws and our ability to enforce those laws. And as a baseline, we should all agree that we must do more to prevent criminals and the mentally ill from obtaining guns, and ensure responsible gun ownership consistent with the Second Amendment. For instance, we can follow Colorado’s example and require background checks for all gun purchases; improve the background check system by reporting state mental health records more completely; and crack down on illegal actions such as straw purchases.

“I also believe Gov. Hickenlooper is taking the right approach by seeking to do more to improve background checks and bolster mental health services. The Governor’s proposal is a good example of the type of common-sense policies that we need to curb future gun violence, and I plan on doing everything I can to support him in that effort.”

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