WASHINGTON - Defying those who assert the right to bear arms at town halls, Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) Wednesday introduced strict new gun-control legislation that would bar people from taking firearms to public events attended by elected federal officials.

The bill would create a 1,000-foot gun-free zone around the event - not just around the lawmakers as King originally proposed in an announcement earlier this month that prompted criticism he was seeking to protect officials more than the public.

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"While this legislation would not prevent all shootings at public events," King said in a statement, "police experts tell me it would be a valuable tool toward preventing attacks such as the tragic assassination attempt against Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) which critically wounded her, killed six innocent people and wounded 12 others."

He added, "A main purpose of this bill is to encourage citizens to attend these public events by giving them a greater sense of security."

Representatives of the Brady Center for the Prevention of Gun Violence and the National Rifle Association did not respond to requests for comment.

But even gun-control advocate Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said last weekend the votes in Congress are not there to pass gun-control measures.

Among those measures are a proposal to ban high-capacity gun clips that allow bursts of 30 or more shots by semiautomatic guns, introduced by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola), and a bill to close the loophole allowing dealers going out of business to sell weapons without gun checks, offered by Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Roslyn Heights).