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Udall comes out in favor of reinstating assault weapons ban

Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, a Democrat.

Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, a Democrat.

DENVER — In his first interview since last week’s deadly schoolhouse shooting in Newtown, Conn., Colorado Sen. Mark Udall told FOX31 Denver that he supports gun control legislation, including the reinstatement of the ban on assault weapons and a separate ban on high-capacity magazines.

“It’s just not acceptable to do nothing in the face of these periodic massacres,” Udall said, calling for a “comprehensive approach” that also includes focusing on mental health.

“I’ve come to the conclusion that military style weapons really don’t have any place in our society. We ought to reinstate the assault weapons ban that served us well for 10 years from 1994 to 2004.”

Udall, who released a broad statement last weekend issuing support for a national conversation about gun laws and mental health, but hadn’t answered questions about or taken a position on the specific proposals being advocated this week by President Obama and several Democratic lawmakers.

“I’ve been listening to Coloradans over the last week, I’ve been studying the laws that are in place. As I considered what happened in Aurora this summer and now Connecticut and the mass shootings in between, it just seems to me that guns that belong on the battlefield and are used to kill as many people as possible, that we ought to make sure they don’t get in the hands of people who want to commit these heinous crimes.

“I wanted to believe that the existing laws we have would be enough to prevent these tragedies, but experience tells us otherwise.”

On Wednesday, Denver Post editorial page editor Curtis Hubbard criticized Udall and Sen. Michael Bennet for their vague statements following Newtown and for not staking out clearer positions on gun control proposals.

Bennet follows suit

Thursday, no less than 30 minutes after Udall’s interview with FOX31 Denver, Bennet posted a statement on his official Facebook page, hinting that he too will support the assault weapons ban and other gun control measures.

“In the aftermath of the Newtown tragedy, one of the most terrible realizations for us as parents is that no matter what we do, no matter how careful we are, no matter what laws we pass, evil can strike our children,” Bennet’s statement begins.

“But we have a duty to mitigate that risk. The shooters in Aurora and Newtown should not have had access to the guns or magazines they used. I believe a combination of improved access to mental health services, restrictions on certain weapons intended for the battlefield, and elimination of the gun show loophole are sensible steps that can reduce our children’s risk.

“In Colorado, we support the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms, we support the ability of people to hunt and recreate and to protect their families and homes, and we want to keep the wrong weapons out of the hands of the wrong people,” Bennet continued.

“As the President’s taskforce begins its work, we will ensure that Colorado’s voices are heard.”