Colorado shooting: L.A. mayor calls for assault weapon ban
In the wake of the Colorado movie theater shooting, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Friday called on the federal government to ban assault weapons and enact stiffer gun laws.
"Though we don't have all the details yet, we know that 70 innocents were shot by a gunman with access to a high-powered assault rifle and other weapons that wrought havoc and death on a crowd full of people simply hoping to enjoy a night at the movies," Villaraigosa said in a statement.
"It's time for the federal government to again ban these weapons, just like California enacted the nation's toughest law against assault weapons nearly two decades ago. It's time for nationwide background checks and waiting periods so guns don't fall into the wrong hands — criminal hands — only to be used against innocent victims in everyday crimes as well as mass murders."
Villaraigosa ordered the flags at Los Angeles city buildings to be flown at half-staff until Wednesday in honor of the victims.
"It is truly a sad day in America," the mayor said.
James Holmes, the alleged gunman who attacked moviegoers at an Aurora, Colo., theater early Friday just after the start of a screening of "The Dark Knight Rises," had an assault rifle, a shotgun and two Glock pistols, state and local officials said at a televised news conference. He wore a tactical armored vest, throat protector, groin protector, gas mask and ballistic helmet.
At least two of the guns were purchased at a Bass Pro Shops store in Denver.
The store released a statement noting that it had "fully followed all federal requirements with respect to the sale of one shotgun and one handgun" to the suspected shooter.
"Background checks, as required by federal law, were properly conducted, and he was approved," according to the statement.
According to local officials, at least 12 people were dead and dozens were injured in the shooting. The gunman entered the theater and set off at least one canister of gas before opening fire. The attack came about half an hour into the showing of "The Dark Knight Rises," an eagerly awaited summer epic that had fans lining up for hours and scalpers reportedly selling tickets for as much as $300.
-- Kimi Yoshino in Los Angeles and Richard Simon in Washington
Photo: Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, photographed this week in Los Angeles, called for a ban on assault weapons Friday in the wake of the Colorado shooting. Credit: Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images