WASHINGTON — Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole said Sunday that he would like to see Congress draft a bill limiting the use of semiautomatic weapons and suggested that lawmakers "might go further than the President" in setting such limits.
In a television interview, the Kansas Republican also said that cutting the capital gains tax rate would be of greater overall benefit than a more politically popular expansion of individual retirement accounts.
The nationwide debate over limiting the use of semiautomatic weapons intensified again last week when Joseph Wesbecker killed seven people and wounded 13 with an AK-47 assault rifle before turning another gun on himself in Louisville, Ky.
Dole, on NBC's "Meet the Press," noted the difficulty in limiting the sale of assault weapons.
"We've looked at ways we could ban some of the guns, and some of the domestic manufacture of some of the weapons like the AK-47, but it's hard to get, hard to describe," the senator said.
" . . . Let's get a bill on the Senate floor. Let's find out what happens. There's a chance we might go further than the President has gone.
"We ought to limit the number of cartridges," Dole said. "The President says 15 in his bill. We think we could go less."
The Kansas senator called for stricter penalties for committing a crime with a gun.
As for capital gains, Dole said Bush is "on the right course" by pressing for a cut in taxes on profits from the sale of stocks, real estate and other investments. The House Ways and Means Committee last week approved the reduction.
"Let's create some jobs. Let's make the cost of capital cheaper," which would make the country more competitive on the world market, Dole said. He conceded, however, that "I assume the IRA politically is more popular."
The senator said Sen. Lloyd Bentsen's proposal to restore partial tax deductions on contributions to IRAs is "a great idea," but he said the proposal would cost $12 billion or more over a five-year period, and "where do you find the money?"
Bentsen (D-Tex.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, defended his proposal on CBS' "Face the Nation," saying his plan and the capital gains tax cut would lose money for five years before benefits would be seen.
But he said his plan would help "average folks--far more people would be able to take advantage of it than a capital gains cut."