Lexington city officials keeping eyes on D.C. gun reform debate

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Posted at 11:15 PM, Jun 08, 2022

(LEX 18) — The U.S. House of Representatives passed a legislative package Wednesday night aimed at curbing gun violence and tightening gun laws, sending it to the Senate where it is unlikely to gain any traction.

The package includes measures to raise the minimum age to buy semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21, strengthen existing regulations on bump stocks and "ghost guns," and toughen penalties for gun trafficking.

Hundreds of miles away, in Lexington, gun violence continues to dominate public conversations.

"This has got to stop," Mayor Linda Gorton said at an event Monday. "This is ridiculous and it's going on across our country."

Gorton signaled she would support gun reform legislation in the wake of recent mass shootings across the country.

"I do not understand at all why people are opposed to background checks," Gorton said.

Lexington Police Chief Lawrence Weathers was also asked by reporters about the role gun control measures could play in reducing violence.

"I think there's room for smarter gun laws," Weathers said, declining to elaborate.

Councilmember David Kloiber, who will try to unseat Mayor Linda Gorton in November's general election, told LEX 18 he looks "forward to the day where these kinds of decisions can be made locally."

Kloiber pointed to past efforts by State Senator Reggie Thomas to give urban communities the ability to pass local ordinances surrounding gun control.

"We all agree that something needs to be done to prevent the tragedies we are seeing across the nation," Kloiber said. "This kind of local control would allow Lexington to directly implement data-driven responsible gun ownership solutions."

LEX 18 reached out to Mayor Linda Gorton's spokesperson to revisit the mayor's comments this week. The spokesperson said an interview later this week is possible.