ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay has joined the growing number of elected leaders calling for a ban on assault style weapons in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting.
Besides Mayor Slay, Missouri U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill and Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin spoke out Monday in support of a ban, as well as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
“There’s no reason why anybody in our neighborhoods, in our cities, need to be carrying around, need to have a deadly military style assault weapon," Slay told News 4.
Slay said he believes President Obama can ban assault weapons by issuing an executive order. If the president doesn’t, Slay is calling on Congress or the Missouri Legislature to take action and if neither does he wants the state of Missouri to grant the city the power to enact a ban.
The owner of Top Gun Shooting Sports in Arnold, Stan Dix, told News 4 that those calling for a ban on assault rifles mistakenly think they would be banning fully automatic machine guns. He pointed out that fully automatic weapons are no longer manufactured in the U.S. and haven’t been since a ban went into effect in 1986.
Dix said an assault style rifle that shoots a .223 caliber round is basically the same as a hunting rifle that shoots a .223 caliber round which shoots only one bullet for each time the trigger is pulled, but has the look of a military weapon. About the proposed ban, he said, “It’s just not something that we believe is going to fix the problem. We believe people need to take personal responsibility for their actions. It’s not always the gun’s fault.”
Mayor Slay said he doesn’t want to ban all guns but wants to reduce the number of guns and the firepower of guns on the streets of St. Louis. He said, “As the mayor of a major city that has its share of gun violence, we need to make sure we are speaking on behalf of people in our neighborhoods who want our neighborhoods to be safer, our children to be safer and will not tolerate this lacks attitude toward weapons that can kill a lot of people in a short amount of time. It’s got to stop. We need change now.”