Arkansas delegation responds to gun control debate

WASHINGTON (KATV) - After an election cycle where gun rights were hardly mentioned, the gun control / gun rights debate is heating up again in the wake of Friday's shooting in Connecticut.

Channel 7 News contacted Arkansas' Washington delegation asking for their stances on the reignited debate. We received the following statements:

Rep. Tim Griffin (R-02)

"The tragedy in Connecticut is heartbreaking, and it raisesmany questions and concerns about our treatment of mental health issues and ourincreasingly crude and violent culture. But no gun control proposal I'veseen - including Connecticut's own 'assault weapons' ban - could have made thederanged murderer obey the law when he stole firearms and committed thisunspeakable rampage."

Sen. Mark Pryor (D)

"First, on behalf of allArkansans, I would like to extend my heartfelt sympathy to the families,teachers, and community of Sandy Hook Elementary School. In the wake ofthis tragedy, many complex issues ranging from guns to mental health to violencein the media have been brought to light. As conversations about these issuestake place in the future, I will reach out and listen to my constituents'thoughts and concerns. In the meantime, we should give families and loved onestime to grieve and heal."

Sen. John Boozman (R)

"Ourthoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and all those affected bythis unimaginable tragedy. Like President Obama said, no one law or set of lawswill eliminate evil in this world, but we must have an open and honestdiscussion about the root causes of this senseless violence and the state ofmental health care in this country."

Rep. Mike Ross (D-04) in an interview with our content partners at the Arkansas News Bureau

"This is not the same America that I grew up in, and I think it is time to address whether there really is a legitimate need for high-capacity weapons that can shoot, you know, a lot of rounds of ammunition....I think past notions that any change at all in gun laws is a foot in the door - I think it is time we get beyond that. America has changed. Unfortunately, it is a different place than when we were children. And, we need some commonsense reforms.

"These weapons that have been used in these horrendous slayings aren't the type of guns I hunt with or anybody else hunts with. I mean when you duck hunt you can only have three shells in your gun by law. And, you know, I shoot a Browning 270 deer rifle. I think it might hold four rounds -- that's it. And, I'm your typical hunter out there."

Rep. Ross is co-chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus but as an outgoing member of the House, he will not be around to vote on any legislation that may come about as a result of Friday's massacre.