Even while we grieve and try to come to terms with the senseless Dec. 14 assault on an elementary school, we must also look ahead to ensuring such a horrific mass shooting never happens again. In the wake of the gruesome Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., where gunman Adam Lanza murdered 26 people, 20 of them children, it is well past time to demand sensible gun control measures.
B'nai B'rith calls for the reinstatement of the assault weapons ban, which went into effect in 1994, but was not renewed when it expired a decade later. At the time, 1,100 police chiefs and sheriffs from across the country urged the law be renewed and strengthened. Other meaningful, enforceable gun control measures are also needed.
Lanza used a .223-caliber Bushmaster assault rifle-a civilian version of the U.S. military's M-16. The magazine-fed civilian weapon is meant for rapid firing, capable of carrying hundreds of bullets in its magazines. Lanza also had two semiautomatic handguns that he did not use.
Assault weapons enable a shooter to fire multiple rounds without stopping to reload as they automatically expel and load ammunition with each trigger-pull. There is no sane, acceptable, reasonable need in a civilian setting to fire off large rounds of ammunition.
B'nai B'rith has called for gun control reform before, most recently in July after the mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. where 12 were killed and 58 wounded.
Mass shootings come to be known by a macabre shorthand: Columbine, Virginia Tech, Tucson, Aurora and now Newtown. It's time for lawmakers to change the vocabulary. Enact and enforce gun control measures.
B'nai B'rith International, the Global Voice of the Jewish Community, is the oldest and most widely known Jewish humanitarian, human rights and advocacy organization. For 169 years, since 1843, B'nai B'rith International has worked for Jewish unity, security, continuity and tolerance. Visit www.bnaibrith.org.
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