MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Issues of gun control are being discussed more often in light of the movie theater massacre in Colorado.
The accused shooter faced a judge for the first time Monday, July 23. The District Attorney still hasn't decided what charges James Holmes will face.
Police say 12 people died and dozens more were hurt when Holmes opened fire inside the theater last week.
Officers say he was armed with four guns, including a semi-automatic assault rifle.
Lawmakers want tighter gun laws and a reinstatement of national ban on assault weapons. But will such measures stop violent crimes like what happened in Colorado?
“Ain’t no civilian got no right to walk up and down the street with that kind of stuff,” Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. said hours after the shooting.
The Assault Weapons Ban would see to it. The previous ban made 19 types of semi-automatic military-style guns illegal, as well as magazines holding more than 10 rounds. Justin Dabbs says the ban would not have stopped a gunman hell-bent on mass murder.
“With a 10 or 15 round magazine this gun does way more damage than this gun does (AR-15) in a 10 or 15. Even if they ban it, it's going to stop the sale of this but it's not going to stop the sale of this,” explained Justin Dabbs from Dabbs Gun and Pawn Shop.
Memphis Police took 16 assault weapons off the streets this year: 3 AK-47's and 13 SKS rifles.
A Shelby County Sheriff Narcotics Team learned how deadly those can be while conducting a search warrant seven years ago.
“The suspect on the inside opened up with an SKS Assault Rifle and the rounds were penetrating brick. Those rounds will zip through our body armor like paper,” said Chief Wayne Goudy, who heads up the Narcotics Unit.
He remembers when the ban was put in place in 1994 and expired a decade later, and the impact it had on crime.
“I haven't noticed any difference. None at all,” Goudy said.
He's doubtful a reinstated ban would be any different.
“Most of the people we deal with are criminals; they're going to get the weapons one way or another,” Goudy said.
That's the dilemma of gun crime. No one wants more of it and the seemingly right solution isn't working as well as intended.