Gun control debate re-ignited after Sutherland Springs shooting

Several U.S. senators have introduced gun control legislation to prevent more mass shootings like the one in Sutherland Springs.

The Sutherland Springs church shooting has re-ignited the debate on gun control. Several U.S. senators introduced a bill on Wednesday to ban the manufacture, transfer, or sale of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammo magazines.

The AR-15 is the most popular assault-style rifle. It's been commercially available in the U.S. for decades, even during the 10-years of the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban.

But now, some Texas lawmakers say its time to change that.

"We have this oddity here in Texas where you can walk around fully locked and loaded with a long rifle, with an AR-15," said Representative Poncho Nevárez of the Texas House of Representatives.

But gun rights advocate Michael Cargale says otherwise.

"There is nothing wrong with our state laws," Cargale said. "We also need to prosecute people who are lying on the background check, because that's not happening."

At Abelbridge and Company Firearms, assault-style weapons constitute up to 40 percent of gun sales.

"I don't make laws. The laws are bigger than me. Whenever they come up with, we adhere to it," said owner Jonathan Hirsh, who added that he understands why those pushing the bill want the ban. "The big thing they are after is the 30-round magazine, here. What they are trying to work around is somebody reloading the weapon very quickly."

Bump stocks, like the one used by the Las Vegas shooter, also help with rapid firing. They would be banned by the new bill.

Hirsch says that he hasn't been able to keep them in stock after all the publicity surrounding the Las Vegas tragedy.

"We saw a tremendous spike, to the point where there was no available inventory," he recalled.

However, Hirsh defines the problem as more of a mental health issue.

"We can isolate dangerous individuals," he said. "I think that's the first and best step to solving this problem."

In order to get traction, the bill needs to attract more support. It's co-sponsored by 22 Democrats but, so far, no Republicans back it.

© 2017 KENS-TV


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