WASHINGTON -- New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez came to the Senate floor today to call for reinstating a ban on assault weapons, banning high-capacity magazines and for "comprehensive, mandatory background checks," for gun buys as lawmakers across the country renewed calls for tougher gun laws.
"Let Newtown finally be the turning point when we are all willing to come together to do what is right," Menendez, a Democrat, said in a speech. He added, "we need to act immediately."
U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews (D., N.J.) backed those laws as well and said he believes this shooting, unlike others that have also been followed by calls for new gun laws, will lead to new restrictions because of the stark images of children shot and killed.
"I don’t believe that there is any reason why a law-abiding citizen would need the capability to shoot multiple rounds like a 'street sweeper,'" Menendez said on the Senate floor. "Words cannot express my sadness that another shooter used a weapon that has no legitimate purpose in a civilized society, using high-capacity 30 round clips that defy any reasonable use – and there are even greater capacity guns than this."
Shortly after Menendez spoke fellow New Jersey Democrat Sen. Frank Lautenberg announced plans to reintroduce a bill to ban magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
Several Senators who have been staunchly against new gun laws opened the door today to revising their position and perhaps embracing new regulations. "Most of us realize that there are ways to get to rational gun control," said Sen. Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat.
Others, however, have yet to take firm positions, including numerous lawmakers from Pennsylvania who have opposed new gun laws in the past.
We'll have much more detail tomorrow in the Inquirer and here online.