Orlando shooting sparks new debate on gun control and ownership

In the wake of the Orlando mass shooting,

In the wake of the Orlando mass shooting, many are calling for a ban on assault style, modern sporting rifles. (Credit: News 12 New Jersey)

EDISON - The mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, has prompted renewed debate over gun control and what types of guns civilians should be allowed to own.

Shooter Omar Mateen is said to have used a Glock handgun and Sig MCX semi-automatic rifle when he killed 49 people and injured over 50 others inside the gay club Pulse in Orlando. The massacre has driven some to call for a ban on assault-style sporting rifles.

Gun enthusiasts say that the modern sporting rifle is popular due to its accuracy and limited recoil, and it is easy to use.

RTSP Shooting Range CEO Rick Friedman says that the person behind the gun is at fault for a shooting, not the gun itself. He says that it is wrong to ban sporting rifles.

“The magazine [Mateen used] only held 30 rounds.  I don't have the final count on the number of rounds but he obviously had time to reload,” Friedman says. “To say a handgun couldn't do as much damage, I think that's an insincere comment."

But Leonia Police Chief Thomas Rowe disagrees, and believes no civilian should be allowed to have these style of weapons.

"If you look at Newtown, Connecticut, if you look at Orlando, what was the weapon that was used?  It’s an AR-type weapon,” Rowe says. “So that's clearly the weapon of choice for people that are looking to do great harm."

Chief Rowe says that these types of guns are so powerful they can even pierce through bullet-proof vests.  He says that each of his officers will soon be getting an assault-style rifle.

"It’s sad that we have to do that and it's the time that we live in,” Rowe says. “I think it's time for Congress to look at the 1994 assault weapon ban and reinstate it and make it stronger than it was."

Friedman says that he doesn’t think more legislation is the answer.

"Someone attacked our freedoms,” he says. “They attacked our way of life.  They attacked the lesbian and gay community.  And we're going to respond by taking away those rights and the freedom of other people?  I don't see the sanity in it.”

New Jersey is said to have some of the strictest gun laws in the nation

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