Local reps react to Connecticut tragedy; identities of victims released


Two of the state's U.S. representatives -- Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum -- didn't wait long after the mass shooting Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., to speak their minds on the issue of gun control.

The shooting took the lives of 20 children and six adults at the school. On Saturday, authorities said all of the children were either age 6 or 7, and the adult victims were all women, reported The Associated Press.

Several people in Rochester were among those to hold a candlelight vigil to honor the victims of the Connecticut school shooting, ABC 6 News reports. The The Wisconsin Sikh community near Milwaukee, where a gunman killed six people before he was shot by police in August, also held a vigil and community dinner, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

Also on Saturday, a medical examiner said the shooter -- 20-year-old Adam Lanza -- shot all of the victims were shot with a rifle; some of them at close range, KSTP-TV reported.

Ellison said on TPT's "Almanac" said the first thing that is needed is a rational discussion with the National Rifle Association on the issue.

"The NRA is strong, and many of them take the position that any gun position is going to lead to the position of taking away of all guns," Ellison said. "This is not rational. We need sane, sensible gun regulation. We need it now."

Ellison also urged the probe of high capacity clips that hold multiple rounds of bullets, stronger background checks "to close the gun show loophole," and greater access to mental health treatment to help identify warning signs of mental instability that may lead some to commit violent acts.

McCollum, meanwhile, issued a call for greater gun control laws in a statement, Minnesota Public Radio reported.

"The time has come for President Obama, Congress and the American people to come together to act immediately to end the epidemic of gun violence and the proliferation of guns designed to be weapons of mass murder," McCollum said. "Inaction and obstruction by the National Rifle Association to common sense gun laws is not tolerable."

U.S. Sen. Al Franken, however, declined to engage in the gun control debate out of respect for the victims, the Star Tribune reported.

Franken said, "This is the day for us to have the victims and their families in our hearts, in our prayers and in our thoughts."

Later on, Franken postponed his scheduled holiday party out of respect of the victims.

See video of Ellison's appearance on TPT below:

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