January 18, 2013

King hesitant on assault weapons ban

King says he still hasn't decided whether to back President Obama's call to ban new assault weapons.

The Associated Press

BOSTON – U.S. Sen. Angus King of Maine says he's reluctant to endorse a federal ban on the kind of assault weapon used in last month's Connecticut school shooting.

The new senator, an independent, said Thursday that he supports universal background checks and limits on high-capacity ammunition magazines as proposed this week by President Obama.

But he said he hasn't decided whether to embrace the president's call to ban new assault weapons.

"Frankly, the more important aspects of the president's proposal is the expansion of background checks, which I believe is appropriate, and the limitation on the size of magazines," King said, adding that smaller magazines would "most likely alleviate the risks associated with whatever the weapon is."

A gunman with an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle killed 20 first-graders and six educators last month at a school in Newtown, Conn.

Obama this week proposed a ban on new assault weapons and said he wants to limit ammunition magazines to 10 rounds or less.

Asked whether he supported banning new assault weapons, like the one used in the Connecticut attack, King said, "I don't know."

"My friends who hunt in Maine -- virtually everyone uses a semi-automatic hunting rifle," King said, noting that he hasn't seen the president's proposal in writing. "I'd need to see how it's worded and how 'assault weapon' is defined. I think it's impossible to say yes or no until I know exactly what's on the table."

A lopsided 84 percent of Americans back broader background checks, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll. Nearly 6 in 10 Americans want stricter gun laws, the same poll showed, with majorities favoring a nationwide ban on military-style weapons.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, said recently it's unlikely an assault weapons ban would pass the House of Representatives. Absent action by Congress, all that remains are 23 executive orders Obama announced that apply only to the federal government, not local or state law enforcement.

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors




Further Discussion

Here at OnlineSentinel.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)