Should assault weapons be banned? 2 opposing views

Should assault weapons be banned? 2 opposing views

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By Robin Schwartz
Fox 2 News


SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WJBK) -- Gun control advocates marched to the National Rifle Association's Capitol Hill office calling for reform following the school shooting in Connecticut.  The idea of renewing a ban on assault weapons is something being debated across the country and here at home.

"Let's just take them off the street.  It (isn't) that complicated," said criminal defense attorney Neil Rockind.

"Banning firearms is not going to keep criminals and the mentally deranged from getting them," said firearms instructor Rick Ector.

Two opposing views as we all face the troubling question of how to prevent mass shootings like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary in the future.  Some say it's time to ban the sale and possession of high powered rifles like the AR-15 police say Adam Lanza brought with him to shoot women and children.

"Let's just stop all the nonsense about how they have some place in society," Rockind said.  "I can't imagine that we make it that easy that someone can just go get a permit and go buy an assault weapon for the purposes of committing assault and then it makes it easy to mow down innocent people.  It just boggles my mind."

After the federal assault weapons ban expired in 2004, national retailers like Walmart started selling them.  The weapon used in the Connecticut school shooting was purchased legally by Lanza's mother.

"The thing that crazy people do, the thing that criminals do, they are resourceful.  If they are hell-bent on creating destruction and mayhem, they will find a way to get a gun, even if it means shooting his own mother in the face," Ector said.

Former FBI agent Andy Bartnowak says it's not so simple.  He believes a ban alone is not the answer.

"I think that until we decide to do something in a more comprehensive manner -- gun control, a ban on assault weapons, look at the way we treat our mentally ill individuals in society -- then unfortunately situations like this are going to occur again," he said.

So there are passionate feelings on both side and the debate will continue.  A California senator says she plans to introduce a bill banning assault weapons the first day Congress reconvenes next month.

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