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Guns – Time for More Controls? A Ban?

Friday's massacre of 20 first-graders and six adults by a heavily armed gunman in Newtown, Conn., has revived the debate over gun control. We'd like to hear from readers if you think more controls are needed and, if so, what kind.

Armed with two powerful handguns and a semiautomatic AR-15 rifle, Adam Lanza blasted his way through Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Friday.

He killed 20 first-graders and six adults, all women, shooting his victims multiple times, before taking his own life. Among those killed was his mother, a gun enthusiast who had often taken him to a local shooting range.

The massacre – coming on top of several other recent mass shootings in the United States, including the April 2 killing of seven people at Oikos University in Oakland – has reignited the gun control debate.

California Senator Dianne Feinstein on Sunday said she would introduce a bill to renew the national ban on assault weapons that lasted for a decade from 1994-2004 before it expired. Some critics viewed the ban as ineffective.

In a statement Friday, Bay Area U.S. Rep. George Miller, whose district includes parts of the East Bay, said it's time "for serious reflection about how we can reduce the flow of guns into the wrong hands." The nation, he said, must "honestly discuss how to prevent people intent on carrying out these savage attacks from so easily obtaining guns and ammunition."

President Barack Obama, speaking at a memorial service Sunday night in Newtown, pledged to "use whatever power this office holds" to stop such massacres and said there was no “excuse for inaction." The New York Times described the President's remarks as "hinting at a fresh effort to curb the spread of guns."

Should we place tighter restrictions on guns and gun ownership? Should they be banned entirely? Or should we make it easier for more people to arm themselves?

We'd like to know what Patch readers think. Do you think gun control laws should be more strict or less strict? If you support more control, what should it be and how should it be enforced?

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Shaun McCaffery December 17, 2012 at 05:37 PM
How about a ban on making the offender(s) famous by mentioning them prominently in these articles over and over and over....?
Vernon Simmons December 18, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Guns are just not the REAL problem. Areas with tight gun control laws have just as many or more gun related issues than other places. Perhaps some control on large clips and very select guns should be considered but not a general ban. That would be bad for everyone.
Ed Micheli December 18, 2012 at 07:17 PM
More gun control laws will not "prevent people intent on carrying out these savage attacks from so easily obtaining guns and ammunition." In fact, they will just make it more difficult for people to protect themselves. I think the answer to these crimes is to have people in schools trained and carrying concealed weapons so that a perp has no idea who is armed and who isn't. In the cases where many people were killed, there was no one able to bring the perp down until after the carnage. There have been several attempts that were thwarted by citizens with firearms. I think Shaun also has a good idea; let's stop giving these sickos so much publicity.
Renee Leap December 18, 2012 at 08:19 PM
I can't think of a good reason to have ordinary citizens purchasing weapons that were intended for military use. They shouldn't be on the streets of our cities, nor should they be the weapon of choice for hunting. Banning such weapons and the various ancillary pieces that make weapons even more lethal will not be an immediate panacea for ending violence because the genie is out of the bottle. All such weapons are easily purchased illegally on the street, but we have to start somewhere. To associate freedom with the right to buy lethal weapons seems a bit ironic. This is not 1789 where most people live in isolated, rural areas. Nor is it a time when we do not have professional police forces, state militia, and a national military to protect us. This is not just an issue that relates to massacres in public facilities or work sites; our professional police forces have a much more dangerous job trying to keep our cities safe in the face of criminals who use weapons with bullets that penetrate armor. In short, it gets down to a key question; what is the purpose of an ordinary citizen having such weapons? Are they involved in military warfare? 34 people are killed every day across the United States on our city streets and too many are children in the wrong place at the wrong time. Is this what our country is about?
Bob Taylor December 19, 2012 at 12:14 AM
To keep people from purchasing military firearms, the first place to look at is the Goverment run Civilian Marksmanship Program (Director of Civilian Markmanship) which has sold ten of thousands of semi automatic military firearms to civilians. The program is design to promote participation in shooting matches or to allow veterans to purchase rifles. Nationwide matches are held every year using military style rifles. Several years ago, a friend of my fathers purchased a M1 carbine complete with the dreaded 30 round magazines for $25.00. Since the program has been around since WWII, and school shootings started in 1965, maybe we need to see what has changed in our society that leads to such horrible acts

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