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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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April 8th, 2013
04:56 PM ET

Are gun control advocates focusing on the wrong things?

President Obama makes his second trip to Connecticut Monday since the Sandy Hook massacre, delivering a speech in Hartford – where he is expected to be joined by Newtown families. The President is trying to keep the outrage over the deaths in the forefront of the public while lawmakers continue fighting over the gun control package the president proposed in the wake of Newtown.

Last week, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy signed what advocacy groups call the strongest and most comprehensive gun legislation in the nation. The new law bans some weapons as well as the sale or purchase of high-capacity magazines like those used in the Newtown shooting in December that left 20 children and six adults dead.

But according to a University of Pennsylvania study, assault weapons are only used in 2-9% of gun crimes. Mostly handguns are used.

The new Connecticut gun laws have "an emphasis on assault weapons because of mass killings that involve assault weapons - the AR-15 in Newtown - but also because of the use of high-capacity magazines which are also involved in the effort that we are undertaking to bring that amendment to the floor as part of the effort to control violence in this country," said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut.

The same University of Pennsylvania study says large capacity magazines are used in up to 25% of gun crimes. As horrific as the large massacres are, Blumenthal and his colleagues in the gun control effort may be focusing on areas where most of the killings do not take place.

"Large massacres have rightly gripped and riveted public attention," said Blumenthal, adding that such weapons have no have no real purpose in hunting and recreation.

"So banning assault weapons really involves no infringement on Second Amendment rights," said Blumenthal. "Taking away other kinds of guns from people would be problematic and there is an effort to stop the illegal trafficking of stolen guns and other forms of weapons that are the predominant source of gun violence on our streets."

When President Obama originally started talking about gun control, he said there has to be a holistic approach, not just gun regulations, but also violence in American culture, and mental health.

"Mental health is an essential part of this effort," said Blumenthal. "Recognizing problems, detecting them, diagnosing them and then treating them when they involve, particularly, children in the classroom or others who may be deeply troubled, as Adam Lanza was, has to be a priority."

For more of interview with Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, watch the video above.

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