DeGette feels new momentum behind high-capacity magazine ban

DENVER — As President Barack Obama pledged Wednesday to pursue gun control legislation as early as January, Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette stood with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats at the Capitol promising to lead the fight on one piece of the package, a ban on high-capacity ammunition clips.

DeGette actually introduced the legislation months ago along with Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-NY, after the Aurora theater shooting where 12 people were killed after suspected gunman James Holmes opened fire using assault weapons with high-capacity magazines.

Last week’s shooting at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Conn., when gunman Adam Lanza used similar clips to kill 26 people, including 20 first graders, has galvanized gun control proponents anew and appears to be prompting more serious efforts by lawmakers to push harder on gun control measures.

“We’ve been here before over and over again, calling for action after these horrible massacres. But this time is different,” DeGette said Wednesday. “This time we had 20 little beautiful angels and heir teachers taken from us. And finally our nation seems to realize collectively that it’s the time to have a deep, national conversation.

“Now is the time for a comprehensive solution, one that talks about our violent culture, our mental health system, and that talks about really doing something about gun violence.”

DeGette says banning high-capacity clips would go a long way toward limiting the number of shots that can be fired by a gunman in the event of future mass shootings.

“We can probably never stop a disturbed individual completely from taking a gun and going into a school or a shopping mall or a store parking lot and trying to shoot people, but we can give those victims a fighting chance,” she said. “We can give those victims a fighting chance when that assaulter tries to reload to take him down like they did when our friend and former colleague Gabby Giffords was shot.”

On Tuesday, Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Golden, announced he would co-sponsor legislation to reinstate a ban on assault weapons also along with McCarthy.