McCaskill, O’Dear favor assault weapons bans, Hawley doesn’t

Semiautomatic AR-15 Type Rifle in 5.56mm with red dot optic. Image taken November 2016.

ST. LOUIS – Incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill and one of her opponents in the November election support assault weapons bans to stifle the sort of violence that killed 17 people at a Florida high school, while the likely Republican challenger says efforts should focus on keeping assault rifles and other guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.

A spokeswoman for McCaskill said Thursday that the senator supports an assault weapons ban. McCaskill voted for a ban in 2013. Meanwhile, independent candidate Craig O’Dear called for a “responsible ban on assault rifles and large capacity magazines.”

Republican candidate Josh Hawley, Missouri’s attorney general, says guns can be kept away from criminals and the mentally ill while still protecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.