Senators take their stance on banning assault rifles

TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- A national conversation on gun control has been taking place since the shooting in Connecticut.

Many people argue this is the watershed moment that should put in place a ban on assault weapons.

Dianne Mabry has owned a gun store in the Mid-Columbia for years.
Gun control has been all the chatter around the store ever since Friday's shooting. Diane's opinion hasn't wavered.

She says, "We don't need any more control. We're already legislated enough as it is."

But many others would disagree. In the wake of the massacre - many say now is the time for a change in access to assault weapons.
I talked with politicians who represent you. Some were unavailable in person or on the phone due to fiscal cliff negotiations at the Capitol.
Senator Maria Cantwell quickly stated she would support a ban on assault rifles. She helped move the Brady Bill in the early 90's, which made it law to require background checks to purchase handguns.

Senator Patty Murray is also pushing for a ban on assault weapons.
She said, She "will vote for ban as soon as she can get a bill on the Senate floor."

Our state senate position is open but State Representative Brad Klippert feels strongly that what happened in Connecticut shouldn't change our systems in Washington.

"I would not be in support of gun control.Because I'm a firm believer in the Constitution of the United States."

He feels the guns aren't the problem, it's the people who decide to commit murder.

U.S. Congressman Doc Hastings is also against a ban. He sent this statement, ".. The right to bear arms is no less sacred of a constitutional right as the right to free speech or freedom of the press."

For those who still want change, Representative Klippert is drafting a different kind of legislation, to add a mental health evaluation requirement to anyone who threatens someone. It's believed the shooter in Connecticut had threatened his mother before.

"When you threaten to murder someone that close to you that should give us the right to detain and evaluate someone who makes those threats," Klippert explains.

Representative Larry Haler, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris-Rodgers and Oregon Senator Ron Wyden have not released an official position. Dianna hopes there are no changes out of what happened at Sandy Brook Elementary.

"We won't be able to protect our homes, if we don't have the fire arms to do that," Dianna says.

To get all sides, we also contacted the local chapter of the N-R-A here in the Tri-Cities. In a statement, they said a ban on assault weapons is not necessary because most times the guns used in massacres were not obtained legally in the first place.