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Pols: Time 'to come together' on gun control after Sandy Hook

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand speaks during a press conference.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand speaks during a press conference. (Nov. 4, 2012) Credit: Charles Eckert

A day after President Barack Obama called for "meaningful action" to prevent mass shootings like the one that left 20 children and six adults dead at a Connecticut elementary school, leaders across New York and Connecticut called for stricter gun control legislation.

"We should be able to come together around measures law-abiding gun owners would support such as banning high-capacity ammunition clips, closing the gun-show loophole and banning military-style weapons, which have no recreational sports use," Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said in an email.

Rep. Don Larson (D-Conn.) said in a statement Saturday that Congress should require background checks for all gun sales, close terrorist watch list loopholes and ban assault weapons and high-capacity clips.

Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) said he would support further regulation, as well.

"I'm more than willing to work for meaningful legislation if we can find a way to go forward," King said.

He expressed doubts about the political will to make that happen. "When you get out of the Northeast, there's a solid majority against any type of new legislation," he said.

Even legislation that would make it illegal for those on a federal terrorism "watch list" had gone nowhere, King said. "There was not one other Republican on the bill with me."

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in an email he was hopeful "yesterday's unspeakable events will cause the nation to re-examine its position on guns, and allow us to come to a solution that still preserves the right to bear arms for law-abiding citizens, but makes it much harder for those who would do us harm to obtain firearms."

The comments Saturday joined those made Friday by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola).

"The Second Amendment is the law of the land but it was never intended to allow murderers to take the lives of innocent kids," said McCarthy in a statement posted on her website. "It's our moral obligation as policymakers and as parents to do more to save lives."

Cuomo said it was time to"crack down on the guns that have cost the lives of far too many innocent Americans."

Bloomberg said Obama's call for "meaningful action" was not enough. "We need immediate action," he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association, which is based in Newtown, Conn., where the shooting occurred, posted a brief statement on its website that said: "Our hearts go out to the families of the victims of this horrible tragedy in our community. Out of respect for the families, the community and the ongoing police investigation, it would be inappropriate to comment or participate in media requests at this time."

The National Rifle Association did not answer requests for comment Saturday.

Jonathan Lowy, legal director at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said the Newtown shootings could be a "seminal event in American history as far as regulation of guns . . . Anyone who watched the president choking back tears knows how every parent in America felt."

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