assault weapons ban after newtown

Assault Weapons Ban Mulled Again, CT School Shooting Casts Pall Over Debate

An “assault weapons ban” seems to be one of the most discussed calls to action after the Newtown school massacre, but the debate spurs more questions than answers as Americans struggle to meet common ground on the issue of legal gun ownership.

The term “assault weapons ban” itself is one fraught with ambiguity — proponents of a ban on what are deemed assault weapons argue that the style of firearm often banned is one no one “needs” to own, while detractors say that such designations are “cosmetic.”

Further complicating the matter is the previous assault weapons ban in existence from 1994 to 2004. Allowed to expire under the Bush Administration, the legislation was said to be fraught with so many loopholes that it never managed to make much of an effect on the overall impact of such weapons.

On this morning’s Morning Joe with Joe Scarborough (himself a gun rights advocate now in flux after the horror of the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre), an assault weapons ban was the topic of conversation at hand. Scarborough himself made an emotional statement about his changing gun policy perspective, and NRA-rated conservative Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia spoke to the now-undeniable issue high-capacity, rapid-fire gun legality presents for America.

Manchin said:

“I don’t know anyone in the sporting or hunting arena that goes out with an assault rifle … I don’t know anyone that needs 30 rounds in a clip to go hunting.”

Previously, Manchin had tweeted:

This awful massacre has changed where we go from here. Our conversation should move beyond dialogue.

— Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) December 17, 2012

Everything needs to be on the table, and I ask all my colleagues to sit down to talk about firearms, mental health and our culture

— Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) December 17, 2012

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