By AMANDA FALCONE
11:17 AM EST, January 11, 2013
Connecticut’s two U.S. senators sent a letter Friday to Vice President Joe Biden that includes recommendations for reforming the country’s guns laws.
Biden is heading the White House Task Force on Gun Violence.
“The recent shootings in Newtown, Connecticut reminded Americans of the horror that is possible when one deranged person can gain access to dangerous weapons,” wrote Richard Blumenthal and in the letter. “The weeks after this terrible mass shooting have been filled with grief and pain, as we have seen firsthand, but the strength and courage of the families and the community should inspire us to prevent gun violence in the future.”
In their letter, Blumenthal and Murphy say they support a new and expanded assault weapon ban that includes a ban on high capacity magazines. They cited Department of Justice statistics in their letter, saying that a previous ban was responsible for a nearly 7 percent decline in total gun murders.
They also say they want to improve the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, institute universal background checks for gun purchases and require background checks for sales of ammunition.
The senators say the mental health system needs to be strengthened — and properly funded, and they say they would like to see rules created that would encourage firearm manufacturers to create safer guns.
“In doing so, we ask that you require of the gun industry what is already required of most other industries,” the senators wrote.
Blumenthal and Murphy also asked Biden to find a way that would allow federal law enforcement agencies to keep track of gun purchases while also protecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners. Right now, the Department of Justice must destroy records of gun purchases within 24 hours, the senators said.
Both Blumenthal and Murphy will be in Hartford later today to host a round-table discussion on curbing violence. State, local and community leaders are expected to participate.
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