WASHINGTON - A day after the Connecticut elementary school massacre, a senior congressional Democrat on Saturday called on US lawmakers to pass sweeping new gun control measures including banning assault weapons and high-capacity clips, saying, "Politics be damned."
Representative John Larson, chairman of the House of Representatives Democratic Caucus, gave a list of specific policies he wanted the US Congress to vote on quickly after the mass shooting in his home state of Connecticut.US lawmakers have not approved a major new gun law since 1994, and they let a ban on certain semiautomatic rifles known as assault weapons expire in 2004.
Hours after Friday's rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School, US President Barack Obama called for the federal government to prevent mass shootings "regardless of politics," but did not offer details on policies he would seek. He reiterated his commitment to "meaningful action" during his weekly radio address on Saturday.
Twenty-eight people died in the incident - 20 schoolchildren and six adults shot at the school, one woman at another nearby site and the gunman.
The incident put renewed pressure on Obama and other Democrats to reverse their years of caution about gun control laws and address the easy availability of firearms. However, gun control supporters face a Republican-led House that could block such measures.