In wake of Orlando, Winfrey questions assault-weapon sales


LOS ANGELES (AP) — Sunday’s mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub that left at least 49 people dead had Oprah Winfrey asking questions instead of answering them Wednesday night.

“What will be the number? What will be the number?” Winfrey inquired, tapping the chest of an AP reporter to emphasize her point. “What number is high enough to get our attention, so that we will say, ‘Enough’? I thought the number was 26 in Newtown,” she continued, referring to 2012 shootings where 20 children and six adults were slain at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn..

Winfrey was on the arrivals line at the premiere of “Greenleaf,” a TV drama she executive produces, in which she acts, and whose own OWN network will broadcast.

But she seemed just as eager to speak out about the Orlando tragedy, which clearly has galvanized Winfrey’s place in the debate over the sale of assault weapons, used in the shootings. In the U.S., such sales have been legal since the Federal Assault Weapons Ban expired in 2004.

“You know, one side says ‘Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.’ That is true,” Winfrey noted. “But are we a country that really believes that assault weapons should be made available to anybody? Are assault weapons necessary? I just say, ‘Enough.’ When are we going to be conscious enough to say, ‘That doesn’t make any sense?’ We have the right to bear arms, but do we have the right to bear assault weapons? That’s what I ask.”