RI gun control debate focusing on mental illness

Supporters of failed proposals to ban semi-automatic weapons in Rhode Island say they'll try again in the wake of the Washington Navy Yard massacre.

Kim Ziegelmayer (ZEE'-guhl-my-er) is a member of a group of Rhode Island mothers who unsuccessfully pushed for tougher gun laws last year, including a proposed ban on semi-automatic weapons. She says the Washington shooting shows that gun violence remains an unresolved problem.

But opponents like Rep. Michael Chippendale note the Navy Yard shootings occurred in a city with some of the nation's toughest gun laws. He says Rhode Island should focus instead on keeping guns out of the hands of violent people with mental illnesses.

A state task force will soon begin working on the use of mental health records and background checks for prospective gun buyers.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.