Assault weapon ban debated after shootings

March 27, 2009 11:37:38 PM PDT
The Oakland shootings are bringing new life to the historic debate over gun control. Friday evening a gun control group held a panel discussion to on a possible federal ban on assault weapons.

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"The escalation of violence by guns and an even higher escalation by assault weapons is something that should be unacceptable in a civilized society," Amanda Wilcox, spokesperson for the California chapter of the Brady campaign to prevent gun violence.

Those with the Brady campaign hope what happened in Oakland will help their efforts to reduce gun violence.

Right now, assault weapons are banned in California, but there is no federal ban. Those with the Brady campaign here say too often, guns are bought legally in other states, then brought in to California.

"Really what we need is a national effort that will reach some consensus of what type of weapons we really need to keep out of hands of civilians," University of California, San Francisco professor Howard Pinderhughes said.

But assault weapon owner Brian Normandy insists his right to bear arms should not be compromised in the process.

"It's my constitutional right, then again, I'm not the one going out there killing people with it, but can I use it for defense, absolutely," Normandy said.

Paulette Brown's 17-year-old son was killed with an automatic weapon. She hopes gun laws change so more lives are not lost.

"The perpetrators turned the gun on my son and shot him 30 times," she said.

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