Cardinal O'Malley calls for gun control, assault weapons ban

In the wake of the Orlando terror attack that killed 49 people and wounded another 53 at a gay nightclub June 12, Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley has renewed his call for gun control legislation, and particularly for a ban on assault weapons.

In a June 13 statement, the cardinal called for action, saying that lamenting "about the prevalence of guns throughout our society seems a pale response to the horror of the crimes in Orlando."

"With each repeated occurrence of mass shootings in schools, theaters, churches and social settings, it appears increasingly clear that any hope for thwarting these tragedies must begin with more effective legislation and enforcement of who has access to guns and under what conditions," he continued.

In a June 15 interview with public radio station WBUR-FM, the cardinal elaborated on his statement, regretting the lack of an "adequate response" to this type of event.

"It is very frustrating, and particularly around the whole area of gun control and the availability of (semi) automatic weapons," he said.

Asked if he was making a call for a ban on assault weapons, the cardinal said, "Certainly we would like to see that happen; it is something that needs to happen. So many of these violent attacks are perpetrated by people who shouldn't have access to these kinds of weapons."

"These kinds of weapons should be for military, for police, not for recreation or something that should be available to the public," he continued.

Cardinal O'Malley has advocated for such restrictions in the past. At a press conference at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in the aftermath of the tragic Sandy Hook school shooting Newtown, Conn. in December 2012, the cardinal also decried the availability of assault weapons.

"Assault weapons only kill people. ... It is just absurd. Hopefully, this will galvanize the country to do something to stop it," he told the media.

"There can be no rational justification for allowing people to have personal arsenals of assault weapons. How many innocent people will have to be slaughtered before the country is prepared to stop this madness?" he asked at the time.

Previous reporting by Christopher S. Pineo contributed to this story.