Reporting Pat Kessler
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota congressman is calling for important changes to federal firearm laws in the wake of the movie theater massacre in Colorado.
Democrat Keith Ellison says the U.S. should not just restrict assault weapons but it should also set limits on some gun clips, ammunition and body armor.
“Reasonable gun controls,” Ellison said. “It’s time.”
Ellison said Tuesday that you don’t need a bulletproof vest and an assault rifle to go hunting. He’s supporting laws to restrict some of the items the Colorado shooter used in his deadly rampage.
James Holmes looked dazed and confused in his first court appearance Monday after the largest mass shooting in U.S. history. But he had methodically amassed a large and legal arsenal beforehand, undetected by authorities
Ellison wants the federal government to outlaw assault weapons like the one used by the shooter. And he says police should be notified when citizens purchase large amounts of ammunition on Internet websites like Bulkammo.com, from which Holmes purchased 6,000 rounds.
“Somebody should be able to go and say ‘Hey, we notice you got 6,000 bullets recently. What are you doing?’” Ellison said.
Only soldiers and cops should have access to body armor, Ellison argued. And he’s calling for restrictions on large capacity ammunition clips like the shooter used.
Rep. Tony Cornish, a leading gun advocate in the Minnesota Legislature, sees things differently.
He says if more people were armed in that Colorado movie theater, Holmes would have been stopped sooner. Cornish called Ellison’s idea of restricting magazine sizes “ridiculous.”
“I own an AR-15 [a semi-automatic rifle] at home. I can change a magazine in less than one second,” he said. “[Smaller magazines] would not stop any more mayhem from happening.”
Cornish said he’ll also oppose any laws restricting the purchase of ammunition. He says it is not unusual for gun owners to have thousands of rounds stockpiled for use with different firearms at different times.
He also said the government has no business knowing what private citizens do.
As far as the laws on the books go: You can buy an assault rifle, but it’s not as simple as entering a store and walking out with one. There are background checks and permits.
If you buy more than one weapon within a week, police are also notified. However, there’s no limit on the amount of ammo you can buy on the Internet with the exception of armor-piercing bullets, which are illegal.