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CMPD Chief calls for a ban on assault weapons

By Cleve R. Wootson Jr.
cwootson@charlotteobserver.com

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe called for a national assault weapons ban on Tuesday, joining a growing number of police chiefs across the country who have said the assault-style weapons should be outlawed.

Monroe said he feels strongest about restrictions on guns with high-capacity magazines, like the one used in the Newtown, Conn., shootings that left 20 children dead.

“We should not be seeing those kinds of weapons on our city streets,” Monroe said. “Back in the early ’90s, when we had the assault weapons ban, we saw a significant decrease in multiple shootings, multiple gun violence, so it only makes sense that we consider that again.”

Monroe called for the assault weapons ban during a meeting of the Business Leaders of Charlotte, a group that brings high-profile Charlotteans in as speakers every month to discuss issues of the day.

Monroe also told the group he thinks everyone who buys a gun should be subjected to a background check.

He also shared details about gun crimes in Charlotte. A large portion of guns police recover from criminals or after crimes originally belonged to people who bought the guns legally, he told the crowd.

“Many of these guns that we recover are your guns, that are either lost, stolen or misplaced,” Monroe said. “We recover them from the hands of a lot of bad people, but ultimately, those guns come from your homes and your cars.”

The call for the ban was the second time this year Monroe has used his position as chief to push for stronger gun laws.

In April, Monroe was one of 20 police chiefs who attended a White House news conference urging legislators to enact a law that would require all gun buyers to pass background checks.

After that news conference with Vice President Joe Biden, Monroe met with Sens. Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Kay Hagan, D-N.C., to talk about his position on gun-control legislation, according to a statement from CMPD.

Following the Newtown shootings, President Barack Obama pressed Congress to pass the nation’s most aggressive gun-control plan in generations.

But the Democratic-controlled Senate fell short of having the votes needed to approve the proposals – expanding background checks, renewing an assault weapons ban and limiting the size of ammunition clips.

Most Republicans and a handful of Democrats rejected them.

Monroe said he went public about his support for an assault weapons ban because of shootings he sees on the streets of Charlotte every day.

“I see the violence. And when you’re sitting in a room with major city chiefs across the country … and you see the carnage that they experience every single day – we may not be strong as a single voice, but collectively we could hopefully bring about a change.” McClatchy Newspapers contributed.

Wootson: 704-358-5046
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