Nelson, a hunter, said he supports the Second Amendment, but also said that because society has changed since the amendment was authored, “commonsense” gun control measures should be considered.
Nelson went on to say he also believes it is reasonable to put limitation on how many rounds of ammunition can be in a clip and ban some assault weapons that were designed for combat, not hunting.
“Are these guns for hunting or are they for killing, and the legitimate answer is they are not for hunting, they’re for killing,” Nelson said. “That’s what they were designed for, a combat situation.”
Democrats have been calling for gun-control measures since the massacre in Newton, Conn., at Sandy Hook Elementary, where a gunman killed 20 children. Nelson criticized the NRA’s reaction to the Sandy Hook shooting, where they suggested armed guards should be stationed outside of schools.
Nelson was also critical of an NRA campaign in his home state to prohibit doctors from asking patients if they own a gun, even if they come to the doctor with a gunshot wound.
“They have gone to the extreme in my state of advocating in the state legislature of getting in-between the doctor-patient relationship,” Nelson said. “This is extremism in the extreme. We ought to call it what it is as we are debating this issue. … Moderation and commonsense is the answer to the situation we face.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said he would allow some votes on gun-control measures early in the 113th Congress.