Senators cautious on gun control

Both of Colorado’s senators called for a discussion of gun laws, but neither committed to support new controls on guns.

Sens. Michael Bennet and Mark Udall, both Democrats, said the search for a reaction to the killings of 20 children last week in Connecticut should include discussions about mental health.

Udall, who of late has worked for federal funding for public shooting ranges, said “all reasonable ideas should be on the table and up for debate — from examining our culture’s glorification of violence to preventing mentally ill people from possessing guns to ensuring responsible gun ownership consistent with the Second Amendment.”

The status quo, Bennet said, “isn’t working,” as he called for discussions about subjects as far-ranging as mental health services to the availability of military-grade ammunition that wasn’t designed for hunting or other sporting purposes.

“The time has come for the country to have a real discussion about finding ways to stop these types of senseless shootings,” Bennet said from his Washington, D.C. office, calling for “a comprehensive and civil conversation about finding the right and most effective solutions.”

Udall called for “an open and honest dialogue about how to prevent these tragedies in the future,” adding that “we must not fear the politics of this frank dialogue.”

U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., whose 3rd Congressional District includes most of the Western Slope, declined to comment directly on any potential legislation while the nation is in mourning, but his Washington, D.C. office said he believed there would be time to address the “real issues behind these horrific acts.”

President Barack Obama on Wednesday appointed Vice President Joe Biden to head up efforts to pursue an assault-weapons ban, and U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., said he would introduce legislation to ban assault weapons when Congress returns in January.

Perlmutter said his measure would outlaw the sale of assault weapons and exempt many firearms used for sport, hunting and personal defense.



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