DENVER (AP) — The question of gun control in the wake of the Aurora theater shootings is dividing congressional candidates in the district where the massacre occurred.
Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter renewed calls for gun control Friday in his third debate against Republican challenger Joe Coors. Perlmutter favors renewed assault-weapons ban and banning high-capacity ammunition magazines.
“There are common-sense approaches that can be taken to avoid some of these mass killings,” Perlmutter said. He particularly stressed ammunition limits.
“Somebody who wants to defend their person or wants to hunt doesn’t need these 100-round magazines,” the three-term Democrat said.
That brought out a philosophical divide with Coors, who described his position on gun laws as “no changes.”
“You can’t do anything, create enough laws to keep criminals from getting the weapons to carry out these heinous deeds,” Coors said.
The congressional district currently includes the Aurora movie theater where 12 people were killed and 58 others injured July 20. The district will no longer include that area in January.
Perlmutter and Coors also disagreed sharply on how to handle the nation’s debt. Perlmutter wants to see a combination of spending cuts and higher taxes on the rich, though he hasn’t laid out specifics.
“You need to have revenue, and manage expenses,” Perlmutter said “You can’t just cut your way out of this situation.”
Coors insisted that taxes shouldn’t be raised.
“My idea of a compromise would be to indefinitely extend the current tax rate. Nobody gets hurt in a deal like that,” Coors said.
Friday’s debate airs next week on PBS stations in Colorado. Coors and Perlmutter meet again Monday in another taped debate.
By Kristen Wyatt, AP Writer(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)