Democratic leaders in three big states have used this summer’s Colorado mass shooting to push bills that would crack down on assault weapons and ammunition sales, rekindling a debate that has not gained much traction in Congress or the presidential campaign, the Associated Press reports. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn proposed that his state enact a strict ban on assault weapons, similar to California’s. New York legislators have proposed wide-ranging legislation that would limit weapons purchases.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris and the Democratic state Senate leader back a bill to make it more difficult and time-consuming to reload assault weapons. The chairmen of public safety committees in California’s Assembly and Senate co-authored a bill that would require dealers to report purchases of large quantities of ammunition to law enforcement. James Holmes, accused in the July 20 Colorado shooting, legally bought 6,000 rounds of ammunition online without raising authorities’ attention. He had four weapons, including an assault rifle, on him after the rampage that killed 12 people and injured 58 at a movie screening. Because California’s legislative session ends soon and most others are done for the year, this summer’s proposals will be addressed when lawmakers return next year. Some could be altered as politicians test the appetite for reform in the months ahead.