Nineteen types of assault weapons — semi-automatic or fully automatic guns with the capacity to shoot many bullets in a short period of time — were banned in the United States from 1994 to 2004.
In 2004, the ban expired and neither President Bush nor Congress acted to renew it. After the events in Newtown on Friday, some politicians are calling for new laws that would ban the type of high-capacity weapons used by the gunman to kill 20 children and six adults in an elementary school.
Outgoing Sen. Joe Lieberman told the Associated Press Sunday that the U.S. should ban military-style assault weapons. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, said she would propose a law next year banning big clips, drums and strips of more than 10 bullets.
In his address to the victims' families and first-responders in Newtown on Sunday night, President Obama implied that he would address the gun control issue. Other elected officials — including U.S. Rep. John Larson, D-1st — are publicly calling for an assault weapons ban and other actions to address the availability of firearms in general.
Historically, though, many voters and politicians have rejected any restrictions on gun possession in this country.
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