Bill Clinton spoke Wednesday at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. | AP Photo
Former President Bill Clinton said Wednesday he hopes former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and other gun-control activists bring change to the country in the wake of the Newtown massacre, calling the proliferation of high-capacity weapons “nuts.”
Clinton made the comments a day after the two-year anniversary of the Tuscon, Ariz., mass shooting that nearly claimed the life of Giffords who this week launched a new gun-control effort.
“I grew up in this hunting culture, but this is nuts,” said the Southern-born former president, as he spoke at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The speech was recorded by the Associated Press.
“Why does anybody need a … 30-round clip for a gun?” said Clinton, who in 1994 signed the assault weapons ban into law. It lapsed a decade later.
“Why does anybody need one of those things that carries 100 bullets? The guy in Colorado had one of those,” said Clinton, referring to the movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colo., last year. “Half of all mass killings in the U.S. occurred since the assault weapons ban expired in 2005.”
“So, I hope that former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and other people who have stepped up after the Newtown tragedy will have some impact on this,” said Clinton, in some of his most extensive public comments since the horrific Dec. 14 attack in Connecticut claimed the lives of 20 children and six adults.
President Obama has appointed a task force, led by Vice President Joe Biden, to come up with the basis for new legislation he’ll submit this year, and he’s called gun control a priority for his second term. The National Rifle Association, soon after the Newtown shootings, suggested the curative for such attacks is armed guards in every school in the country.
Clinton mentioned that concept in passing, saying it can’t be a used to deflect from passing new laws.
“Does there need to be some armed guards in some schools where there’s a high crime rate and kids themselves may take weapons to school? Absolutely,” he said. “But it is not an excuse not to deal with this issue.”
A number of other high-profile figures have discussed gun control this week, including New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who in his State of the State address earlier in the day called for tighter curbs on assault weapons in his New York.