Former President Bill Clinton said Wednesday that it was hard for him to comprehend resistance to measures meant to curb the proliferation of high-capacity magazines and the weapons that use them.
"I grew up in this hunting culture, but this is nuts," Clinton said at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, in a speech recorded by the Associated Press. "Why does anybody need a ... 30-round clip for a gun?"
(Watch Clinton's comments in the video above)
"Why does anybody need one of those things that carries 100 bullets? The guy in Colorado had one of those," continued Clinton, referring to a mass shooting in Aurora, Colo., last year. A gunman opened fire on a movie theater there with a military-style assault rifle and numerous high-capacity magazines, killing 12 and injuring 58 more. "Half of all mass killings in the U.S. occurred since the assault weapons ban expired."
Clinton said he hopes to see action taken against gun violence in the wake of the December mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., that led to the deaths of 26 people, including 20 young children.
"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," Clinton said, promoting a newly launched effort by Giffords -- herself a victim of gun violence in a 2011 Tuscon shooting -- and her husband, Mark Kelly.
On Tuesday, the two-year anniversary of Giffords' shooting, she and Kelly announced the creation of Americans for Responsible Solutions, a PAC that aims to rival the National Rifle Association's political influence by raising $20 million for the 2014 congressional elections.
Clinton went on to speak more broadly about responses to the Newtown massacre, saying he accepted that solutions needed to be judged on a case-by-case basis but that some aspect of gun control should remain on the table.
"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."
As president, Clinton signed an assault weapons ban into law in 1994. It expired in 2004, proving largely ineffective in preventing gun violence over a decade.
Seeking to build on that framework and create more forceful legislation, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has picked up the cause, promising to introduce a new assault weapons ban. In a statement laying out her legislation in December, Feinstein said the goal would be to prevent the sale and transfer of high-capacity magazines in excess of 10 rounds, as well as a variety of weapons capable of accepting such ammunition-loading devices.
A similar effort against high-capacity magazines has gained some traction in the House.
These latest legislative actions come as Vice President Joe Biden meets with a variety of parties to discuss federal action to address gun violence. Biden promised on Wednesday to make strides on the issue, suggesting that President Barack Obama could take "executive action."
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