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Monday, December 17, 2012

Newtown Tragedy Revises Gun Control Debate

Supporters of gun control gather on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House in Washington on Friday, during a vigil for the victims of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Ct., and to call on President Obama to pass strong gun control laws. (Charles Dharapak/AP)

Supporters of gun control gather on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House in Washington on Friday, during a vigil for the victims of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Ct., and to call on President Obama to pass strong gun control laws. (Charles Dharapak/AP)

Democrats say meaningful action in the wake of the school shootings in Connecticut must include a ban on military-style assault weapons and a look at how the nation deals with individuals suffering from serious mental illness.

Several Democratic lawmakers and Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman said it was time to take a deeper look into the recent spate of mass shootings and what can be done to prevent them. Gun control was a hot topic in the early 1990s, when Congress enacted a 10-year ban on assault weapons. But since that ban expired in 2004, few Americans have wanted stricter laws and politicians say they don’t want to become targets of a powerful gun-rights lobby.

Gun-rights advocates said that might all change after the latest shooting that killed 20 children aged 6 or 7. Police say the gunman, Adam Lanza, was carrying an arsenal of ammunition and used a high-powered rifle similar to the military’s M-16.

Pushing For More Regulations

On Monday, Sen. Joe Manchin, a lifelong member of the National Rifle Association, said it was time to discuss gun policy and move toward action on gun regulation. The conservative West Virginia Democrat said Monday he agrees with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has advocated banning the sale of assault weapons.

Manchin is the most prominent gun rights advocate to speak after the shooting, telling MSNBC that he is a “proud outdoorsman and hunter, but this doesn’t make sense.”

At a Sunday night service in Newtown, Conn., the site of Friday’s massacre, President Barack Obama did not specifically address gun control. But he vowed, “In the coming weeks I’ll use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens, from law enforcement to mental health professionals to parents and educators in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this.”

He added: “Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard? Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?”

A Move To Ban Assault Weapons

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the nation “could be at a tipping point … a tipping point where we might actually get something done” on gun control. He and other Democrats, as well as Lieberman, said they want to ban the sale of new assault weapons and make it harder for mentally ill individuals to obtain weapons. Lieberman said a new commission should be created to look at gun laws and the mental health system, as well as violence in movies and video games.

“Assault weapons were developed for the U.S. military, not commercial gun manufacturers,” Lieberman said before the Newtown vigil Sunday night.

“This is a moment to start a very serious national conversation about violence in our society, particularly about these acts of mass violence,” said the Connecticut senator, who is retiring at the end of the year.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said she will introduce legislation next year to ban new assault weapons, as well as big clips, drums and strips of more than 10 bullets.

“It can be done,” Feinstein told NBC’s “Meet the Press” of reinstating the ban despite deep opposition by the powerful National Rifle Association and similar groups.

Bloomberg said Obama could use executive powers to enforce existing gun laws, as well as throw his weight behind legislation like Feinstein’s.

“It’s time for the president, I think, to stand up and lead and tell this country what we should do – not go to Congress and say, `What do you guys want to do?”‘ Bloomberg said.”

Arguing For More Guns In Schools

Gun-rights activists had remained largely quiet on the issue since Friday’s shooting, all but one declining to appear on the Sunday talk shows.

David Gregory, the host of “Meet the Press,” said NBC invited all 31 “pro-gun” senators to appear on Sunday’s show, and all 31 declined. All eight Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee were unavailable or unwilling to appear on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” host Bob Schieffer said.

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, was the sole representative of gun rights’ activists on the various Sunday talk shows. In an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Gohmert defended the sale of assault weapons and said that the principal at Sandy Hook Elementary School, who authorities say died trying to overtake the shooter, should herself have been armed.

“I wish to God she had had an M-4 in her office, locked up so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out and she didn’t have to lunge heroically with nothing in her hands. But she takes him (the shooter) out, takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids,” Gohmert said.

Gohmert also argued that violence is lower in cities with lax gun laws, and higher in cities with stricter laws.

“The facts are that every time guns have been allowed – conceal-carry (gun laws) have been allowed – the crime rate has gone down,” Gohmert said.

The Argument Against Guns

Gun-control advocates say that isn’t true. A study by the California-based Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence determined that 7 of the 10 states with the strongest gun laws – including Connecticut, Massachusetts and California – are also among the 10 states with the lowest gun death rates.

“If you look at the states with the strongest gun laws in the country, they have some of the lowest gun death rates, and some of the states with the weakest gun laws have some of the highest gun death rates,” said Brian Malte of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

Guest:

  • Kate Hunter, reporter for Bloomberg News. She tweets @Kate_HunterDC.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003000884786 Navin R Johnson

    We need to do two things:
    1. Get rid of all the guns designed to kill everyone in the room.
    2. Keep guns away from people who aren’t mentally stable.

  • http://www.ohioken.com Ken Palosi

    While I feel that the time for gun control has come I also feel that gun control is not a complete solution in controling violence in America. As a nation we must come together to face the culture of violence that permeates our society. Children in America are bombarded with examples of violence in their television shows and movies that they watch. Today’s video games are replete with the most extreme violence imaginable. Even Disney movies which most parents feel are o.k. for their children to watch are filled with violence. I recently took my seven year old grandson to see Disney’s “Wreck It Ralph” and the violence was so intense that he put his hands over his eyes during several scenes.  While limiting access to high powered weapons and ammunition will help, it is only one facet of the solution. We must all decide that the time for action is now and join together to attack the problem of violence in our society.

    • Ted

      Yes, Ken, the time has come.
      After dozens of these shooting across the country, the time has come. You live in a violent society Ken.
      Don’t you see a pattern here to many of these shootings? All are “lone gunman”. Most are suicided by choice or possibly the implant in their heads are “set off” remotely to silence them. After all dead men tell no tales.

      I found recently that the father of this shooter, Peter Lanza is the V.P. of G.E. Energy Services.
      The father of the Aurora, Colorado threater shootings,  Robert Holmes works for FICO, a credit ratings agency. He was about to testify as was Peter Lanza concerning the LIBOR scandal which broke months ago.
      What a coincidence, aye Ken?
      There are many similarities to these shooters, but few of you take the time to do any research. 
      You swallow hook and bait all the crap the mainstream media feeds you. Thinking is a remote possibility for many.
      As Walter Lippmann, the dean of American newspapers said in the 1930′s:
      Where all read the same, no one thinks very much
         

  • Chuck_Woolery

    The hunting issue that seems to constantly be brought up in the gun control debate is a red herring. Gun rights aren’t about sporting, having the ability to hunt, or even about personal defense. It’s about having the freedom to oppose an oppressive government should the situation arise. Now, I’m not one to think that this is going to be an issue even in my lifetime, but I absolutely don’t want my constitutional freedoms stripped from me for any reason.

  • Ted

    Another sad commentary on America.
    One more attempt at the Globalists via their United Nations cohorts to strip the US of all weapons.
    This was an outrageous incident last Friday, but they will get worse if necessary for the masses to start demanding stiffer gun laws.
    Whats next? How about killing 5 year olds, then 4 years and on we go.
    Wake up people, this will continue.
    More Manchurian Candidates of the CIA are being groomed as time goes on.
    Look up MK-ULTRA and also RHIC-EDOM. 
    Radio Hypnotic Intra-Cerebral Control & Electronic Dissolution of Memory
    This isn’t the movies people, this is reality.

  • tncanoeguy

    That’s the point.  Rational gun owners realize that if something isn’t done, and these tragedies continue, support for the 2nd amendment will erode.  

  • tncanoeguy

    NRA toadies have blood on their hands for not accepting reasonable restrictions on firearms and ammunition.  

    • Chuck_Woolery

      This comment offers absolutely nothing of value to the conversation.  Great contribution to the discussion.

      • tncanoeguy

        I was responding to one of the guests who said that people who want to keep guns out of schools have blood on their hands.

  • Markaselter

     At present there are still fortynine states in the USA that
    can legally sell them to private individuals, who must be over the age of
    eighteen with no
    criminal record, they cannot then however ‘export’ them into California as its
    not just http://www.vincelewis.net/rifle.htmlthe gun itself that’s banned, its the ownership of one as well.

  • Paul Miranne

    Stop the nonsense!   Does everyone out there realize that the legal definition of an “assault rifle” (Google it) is probably not what you think it is?  Does everyone realize that with one exception, an “assault rifle” is no more dangerous that a standard semi-automatic hunting rifle that is perfectly legal and has never come under scrutiny?  An “assault rifle” is not a “machine gun”!

    As a hunter, I recognized the politics of the origninal “assault weapons” ban when I was just a teenager.  In my view, it was American rifle manufacturers being put-off because good,  inexpensive semi-automatic rifles like the SKS (Google it) were being sold for about $125 when their rifles were being sold for much, much more.  I smelled American gun manufacturers all over that original assault weapon ban. 

    Asside from a derranged individual, there’s only one thing that should be under scrutiny here and that is guns of any kind that have more than a 5-shot magazine.  Magazines holding more than this have no place in a civilized society.  But enough with the “assault weapon” terminology….its nonsense.

    Is this a mental health isssue, a gun issue, or both?  I suspect its both, but please, please get to the root of what makes a weapon dangerous.  As it stands, and “assault weapon” is typically no more than a gun that LOOKS like it could cause a lot of death.  The reality, however, is quite another story.

  • d_arcy_2

    Ghastly as the Newtown incident is, I am far more discomfited by the barely reported police shooting near Cleveland recently (reported ONCE on ATC early last week).  In that incident 13 officers, in a scene that must have looked like it was clipped from “Bonnie and Clyde”, pumped 138 rounds into a car, killing, of course, the unarmed occupants.

    The Newtown shooter was a “bad guy”.  These are the “good guys”.  But egregious cop shooting keep occurring: an unarmed man in New York shot while reaching for his ID; a soon-to-be groom and other members of his bachelor party shot, also in New York; a Riverside woman shot by police while asleep in her car…

    One of the parts of this program suggested that “assault (style) weapons” are automatic, i.e. it fires multiple times for one trigger pull.  Unlike much of the Middle East where dull-automatic AK-47s are common as teacups, in the USA full-automatic weapons are illegal, except for military and para-military.

    In my opinion, if one can have only one firearm the “assault (style) rifle” would be the best choice.  More unwieldy than a handgun for home defense, it can still be used.  And while not the best weapon to the purpose it can be used for hunting, both large came and varmints, while “hunting rifles” are barely useful for home defense.

    This incident is ready made for You-know-Who.  It gives him a chance to “look presidential” and to advance the agenda item of the unarmed citizen, while diverting media attention from the Benghazi incident and the budget problems.

  • Nicholas

    And we learn that the author of the Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins lives in Newton, Conn.
    In The Hunger Games, many times called a model of predictive programming, the ritual sacrifice of 23 children is carried out. Twelve districts, two children from each district; they fight in pairs and kill each other until one winner is left. 23 children are killed.
    In Newton, Adam Lanza killed 20 children.
    Where is the media again with some real news, rather than the usual lies, disinfo and misinfo that is standard fare for the masses.
    When all read the same, no one thinks very much.
    More details here:
    http://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2012/12/16/newtown-murders-astonishing-hunger-games-coincidence-and-killers-mother-now-a-doomsday-prepper/

  • Joe Poore

    a Liberal’s argument against banning assault-type weapons

     Many loyal Americans believe that there’s some chance that civil society will break down. A quick look around the world proves that this is possible, as many law-abiding people in many countries have fallen victim to forces beyond their control, and they and their families have died. Some who see this possibility decide that their duty to their loved ones requires them to prepare for the worst. They aren’t prospective murderers or insurrectionists, just citizens determined to be able to defend against violence. If they conclude  that skilled use of a high-capacity weapon might give their family the best chance of survival, who am I and who are you to try to deny them this chance? As good Americans, the choice should be theirs. The never-mentioned other use of an assault weapon is to defend against an assault. Thanks

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/USPXBUOD4DR3I2SUWJBWJHFUFI Gnslngr

    We don’t require psych. profiles of everyone that gets on a plane, yet we know some % are crazy so we have air marshals with guns.

    We don’t require psych. profiles of everyone that enters a bank, but we know crazy people rob banks so they have security guards with guns.

    We don’t require citizens to be randomly given psych. profiles but we know there are lots of crazy people out there so our police have guns.

    You can’t legislate the crazy out of society so you simply have to learn to mitigate the inevitable tragedies, and while I agree that no private citizen really needs an assault weapon I firmly believe that if that principal had even just had a simple handgun she would at least of had a fighting chance to save herself and those kids.  I think we can all agree that schools are targets for psychotics, and not just in the US (Chechnya anyone?), so time to wise up and accept that reality that if a school has to wait 5+ minutes for the police to arrive it’s likely that most, if not all, the damage will already have been done.

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