An influential Republican congressman is insisting that assault weapons like the one used to slaughter 20 school children in Connecticut should be banned.
MSNBC host Joe Scarborough on Thursday asked Rep. Peter King (R-NY) if he agreed with conservatives who wondered if “we really need assault weapons all across America?”
“Joe, I fully agree with you,” King replied. “I voted for the Assault Weapons Ban back in 1994. My father was a police officer. I really don’t know why people need assault weapons.”
“I’m not a hunter but I understand people who want to hunt. I understand people who live in rough neighborhoods or have a small business and want to maintain a pistol to protect themselves as long as they’re properly vetted and licensed. But an assault weapon?”
The New York Republican added: “Listen, I’m sure 99 percent of people with assault weapons are good Americans. But to give that potential to a mass murderer who would be able to outarm the police who as we saw could carry out the worst devastation?”
“Why the issue of an assault weapon should even be on the table, why we want to identify with that when it’s a vocal minority, but it is a minority who support these weapons.”
“It’s a minority that gets in the way of us arguing important issues,” Scarborough agreed.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has said she would introduce a bill on the first day of the 113th Congress that would ban assault weapons. The National Rifle Association (NRA) is expected to oppose any new gun control legislation with the claim that that assault weapons like the AR-15 are a constitutional right.
“There is a very long tradition in which the civilian versions of service rifles have become standard firearms for hunting, target shooting and lawful self-defense,” gun-rights activist Dave Kopel wrote for the NRA. “That’s an issue that every AR-15 owner, and every gun owner, should remember on Election Day.”
Watch video from MSNBC’s Morning Joe via Think Progress, broadcast Jan. 3, 2013.