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Following Orlando, advocates renew call for tighter gun controls

This past weekend's mass shooting at an Orlando gay club, which claimed the lives of 49 people and also the gunman, has renewed calls for tighter gun controls. The executive director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence says the weapon used in the attack, an AR-15, has no purpose for civilians other than to kill other civilians.

The man police say carried out the shootings at Orlando's Pulse nightclub early Sunday morning, Omar Mateen, legally acquired the AR-15 used in the attack. Leah Gunn Barrett of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence says the gun is known as a "spleen shredder" for the damage it causes to a human body with its high firepower.

"They're designed for the battlefield," Gunn Barrett said. "They do not belong on our streets, in our movie theaters, in our nightclubs, in our schools, anywhere. 

"This is a weapon of choice for people who want to go out and commit serious madd murder, because it's very easy to do it with this weapon."

Gunn Barrett singled out the National Rifle Association for their continued opposition to restrictions on higher-end firearms. In her words, they do not represent the average homeowner, hunter and sport shooter but rather are lobbying on behalf of the industry to protect their profits.

"They need to be called out for what they are. Their hands are coated in blood," Gunn Barrett said. "They are complicit, definitely. So is our members of Congress for going along with their agenda and doing the NRA's bidding by opposing any kind of common-sense regulations to keep guns out of the wrong hands."

Such common-sense regulation exists in New York, she said, and it has resulted in the fourth-lowest gun death rate in the nation.

Leah Gunn Barrett, executive director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, details what she describes as New York State's "common sense" gun legislation.

Gunn Barrett also took issue with the argument that seeking gun controls infringes on rights protected by the Second Amendment.

"Our response to that would be you're infringing on our right to life," she said. "No right is absolute, and actually in the Second Amendment, the third word is 'a well-regulated militia' and we seem to have forgotten that completely.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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