Orlando mass shooting reignites assault weapon debate

Paul Murphy talks to people on both sides of the debate on assault rifles.

NEW ORLEANS -- The mass shooting in Orlando has reignited the controversial debate over assault type weapons and whether they should be banned, or at least harder to get.

An AR-15 gun was the main weapon used by Omar Mateen in the deadly club shooting rampage. It was also used to slaughter first graders in Newtown, Connecticut, murder Batman fans at a Colorado movie theater and kill county workers at a holiday party in San Bernardino, California.

Firearms instructor Devvin Burgess showed us an AR-15 at Jefferson Gun Outlet in Metairie.

"People will buy these guns because they are very accurate," Burgess said. "It will shoot as many bullets as the magazine will hold and the magazine is detachable. Which means they are very easy to reload."

The AR-15 was originally designed for military use and can easily fire 30 rounds at a time in less than a minute.

The National Rifle Association contends that the AR-15 is popular among ordinary, law-abiding gun owners because it is "customizable, adaptable, reliable and accurate and can be used in sport shooting, hunting and self-defense."

Burgess is quick to point out, the gun itself is not to blame for mass shootings.

"It's not because of mental health problems in this country, it's not because of anything else, it's just because of this and if this didn't exist, we'd be in Utopia, that's nuts," Burgess said while holding an AR-15.

New Orleans anti-crime activist Al Mims said he supports the 2nd Amendment, but maintains assault weapons should be harder to get.

"In this community, you can hear assault rifles and things at night," Mims said. "The drug dealers, that's the gun of their choice. They want to kill and maim."

Monday, the ongoing gun debate took center stage on the Presidential campaign trail.

"We've got to keep weapons of war off our streets, like the one used in Orlando," said presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.  "As well as blocking suspected terrorists from buying guns."

Her main opponent had other opinions.

"By the way, if you had some guns in that club the night that this took place, if you had guns on the other side, you wouldn't have had the tragedy that you had," said presumptive Republican Nominee Donald Trump."

Investigators say an armed officer working security at the club did respond to the shooting, engaging the gunman in a shootout outside the club, before the suspect ran back inside.

Three hours later, police broke through a wall in the club, killing the gunman in a shootout.

 

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