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Orlando Sentinel - Nelson: Use common sense in gun-control debate

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By Amy Pavuk

Seated before two semi-automatic military style weapons seized by Orange County deputies from suspected criminals, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson on Tuesday called for Americans to act and use common sense when it comes to gun control.

Florida's senior U.S. senator, joined by Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings in downtown Orlando, said gun-show loopholes that allow private collectors to sell weapons without running background checks on buyers should be closed.

"Why in the world would we not want to check to see if a person buying a weapon has a criminal record?" Nelson said.

The senator was quick to note he is a hunter, has always owned guns, and will be hunting pythons in the Everglades this week.

"This is not an assault on the Second Amendment," he said.

Nelson said that as President Barack Obama prepares proposals to stop gun violence, one of the questions that needs to be addressed is whether assault weapons should be banned.

The senator said the law should define the legal size of magazines, and pointed that out one of the magazines confiscated by Orange County authorities could hold 60 rounds -- far more than Demings and his deputies carry.

In the past, Nelson has voted in support of a ban on assault weapons, and has supported universal background checks.

Nelson pointed to the AK-47 and the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle that deputies confiscated -- an AR-15 was one of the weapons used to kill 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut last month -- and said people are buying those guns to kill others, not to hunt.

And when assault rifles are used to kill children, Nelson said, "then it's time for America to act."

"Common sense and moderation," should dictate what the law should be, Nelson said.


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