The battle over gun control has reached a fever pitch in California and in the nation’s capital after a man went on a shooting rampage at a gay nightclub in Orlando, resulting in 50 deaths.
Authorities say Omar Mateen was, at one time, being watched by the FBI, and was suspected of having ties to several terrorists groups. He was cleared in 2014. Mateen used a powerful semiautomatic assault weapon with detachable magazine clips in the massacre.
Last month, California lawmakers voted on proposals that require gun owners to turn in magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. The measure was in response to last year’s terrorist attack in San Bernardino.
California’s assault-weapon ban prohibits new rifles with magazines that can be detached without the aid of tools. To get around the law, gun makers developed so-called bullet buttons that allow a shooter to quickly dislodge the magazine using the tip of a bullet or other small tool.
“They are designed only to facilitate the maximum destruction of human life,” said state Sen. Isadore Hall, III, who co-wrote the bullet-button ban.
On Tuesday, tempers flared between Hall and Republican lawmakers as assault-weapon bans proposed after last year’s San Bernardino attacks were put back on the table in light of the Orlando tragedy.
Hall called gun-control opponents “crazy, vicious, heartless” people who “need to wash their mouths because they are filthy.”
Republican state Sen. Andy Vidak of Hanford took offense to Hall’s remarks and wrote to leaders of the Senate ethics committee that the comments violated the house’s Standards of Conduct.
“There is no excuse for Senator Hall to use such intolerant and disrespectful language aimed at those of us who don’t agree with him,” Vidak wrote. He called for disciplinary action.
Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell) told National Rifle Assn. lobbyist Dan Reid, that the Orlando shooting victims “were murdered was because of your organization.” Reid said the ban would outlaw “hundreds of thousands of constitutionally protected firearms” that are legal to use for hunting or competition.
In Washington, D.C., Democratic House leaders stepped up to support the reinstatement of President Barack Obama’s “no fly, no buy” bill. The legislature would ban anyone on the FBI Terrorist Watchlist, who is not allowed to fly on an airplane, from purchasing guns.
Meanwhile on the campaign trail, GOP presumptive nominee Donald Trump accused Democratic leaders from being weak on terrorist groups like ISIS. He has accused Hillary Clinton of trying to take away second amendment rights from gun owners, which she flatly denied.
In the days since the Orlando attack, both Clinton and President Barack Obama have amped up their rhetoric against Trump, who wants a ban on all Muslims entering the U.S.
Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee and former Secretary of State said “Inflammatory anti-Muslim rhetoric hurts the vast majority of Muslims who love freedom and hate terror.”
The president said on Tuesday that 120 terrorist leaders have been killed under his administration. He also denounced remarks by Republicans who say his policies against ISIS are weak because he refuses to address the group as “radical Islamic terrorists.”
Obama attacked Trump’s intent to bar all Muslims from immigrating to America. “If we fall into the trap of painting all Muslims with a broad brush, and implying we are at war with an entire religion, then we are doing their work for them,” he said. Obama added that referring to terrorist groups as radical Islam “is not a strategy,” but “political talking points.”