U.S. Senate Democrats proposed a bill Thursday that would both military-style assault rifles and high-capacity clips, and local groups have been quick to respond. The legislation is the first congressional response to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that took the lives of 20 children and six adults.
Dianne Feinstein (D-California) introduced the bill at a press conference surrounded by assault rifles, including AR-15s, according to ABC News.
"I remain horrified by the massacre committed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown," she said, according to ABC News. "I’m also incensed that our weak gun laws allow these mass killings to be carried out again and again and again."
The bill is in line with proposals President Barack Obama sent to congress last week, which also included enforcing background checks for gun buyers.
U.S. Representative Jim Himes (D-4) was a co-sponsor of the bill.
"It does not take a military-style gun to kill a deer, have fun at the shooting range, or protect your family,” said Himes in a statement his office released Thursday. “This bill strikes an ideal balance between keeping our communities safe and preserving the freedoms of American gun owners. I look forward to working with my colleagues to send this bill to the President’s desk.”
Sandy Hook Promise, the Newtown-based advocacy group started in the wake of the tragedy, offered qualified support -- but said they had not yet come to a consensus on endorsing legislation. The group had "applauded" Obama's proposals last week, but said change could not stop at legislation.
"As we search for solutions to preventing another tragedy like Sandy Hook, we have learned that there are no easy answers," said a release from Sandy Hook Promise co-founder Tim Makris. "We hope that our elected officials will review the wide range of ideas that have been put forward since the tragedy with an open mind and engage in a constructive debate that leads us to a better, safer place. The one thing we cannot afford is inaction."
Connecticut Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy also join the coalition to introduce the legislation, according to the New Haven Register.
“This measure is a signature moment in this campaign to help stop gun violence,” said Blumenthal, according to the Register.