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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, U.S. Representative George Miller 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 in our poll below and in the comments section. 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?

Tim December 18, 2012 at 06:33 PM
OK Shanon - Fremont, so if your brother gets multiple DUIs and loses his drivers license then you and anyone else in your family should lose your cars because we can't take a chance of him using your car as a weapon if he gets your keys and drives drunk.
James Nelson December 18, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Did anybody catch this? http://finance.fortune.cnn.com/2012/12/17/the-money-behind-the-massacre/?hpt=hp_t2 Granted it's CNN so take it with a Grain of Salt, but the most Interesting part is the first Paragraph where it states that California Public School Teachers have more than a 6% stake in bushmaster Rifles via CalSTRS. Does anybody else find it a little unnerving that Educators are Linked to the Gun Industry?
Sharon Hanna December 18, 2012 at 06:45 PM
My only comment is that I wish there had been a couple of teachers at that school who had CC permits and could've stopped the shooter. And I wish didn't live in an area where the CC permits are just about impossible to get (unless you are a politician).
Sharon Hanna December 18, 2012 at 06:48 PM
They are being used in self-defense much more often than they are used to kill.
Sharon Hanna December 18, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Suggest you read about Bath, Mi, 1927 before you say there were no mass killings while there was prayer in schools. Of course there are also many others too but Bath seems the worst.
Paul Brewer December 18, 2012 at 07:26 PM
One question...With CHICAGO recently surpassing 400 (!) fatal shootings this year, why hasn't our President made any media event in the city where he formerly was an "organizer" ? ....not even a statement !!! Let Connecticut mourn in dignity rather than be a blatant opportunistic Presidential media prop of political hypocrisy.
Diana Willis December 18, 2012 at 08:12 PM
What I can't stand is everytime a gun tragedy is carried out by a criminal element the debate begins about limiting law abiding citizens access to guns. To the contrary the CT school shooting and many other's prove we need to be armed to protect ourselves from criminals who will obtain guns regardless of any laws. With this mindset we might as well take away cars from people because some fool killed somebody with a car while driving drunk, which by the way happens just as much as gun violence. I'd prefer to protect myself then to wait on some cop to protect me. All they are good for is writing traffic tickets and writing up reports of poor victims who probably woundn't have been a victim had they been armed. The real debate is the sickness that this society produces that make it necessary for me to possess a weapon.
Alex December 18, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Tim, we can go back and forth on this issue and you will never be in my shoes. So as a great man once said "Do not argue with an idiot they drag you down to their level and beat you with experience."
Tim December 18, 2012 at 08:49 PM
Says the so-called gun owner / gun expert who doesn't know squat about guns but pretends to so as to promote his gun grabbing agenda. There is no back and forth. You sir were just owned.
Angel December 18, 2012 at 09:07 PM
In my opinion, if you have a child or adult living in the same house with metal health issues, you should NOT be allowed to own or possess a firearm in the house. I think it is irresponsible and dangerous to have firearms around someone who has any kind of mental issues. I think yearly mental & background checks for every adult in the house should be done, by law you should have to let the Police department know & homes should be inspected for adults that want to own a gun. I watched on the news last night & it was said that China has similar gun control laws. I have 6 children ranging from 6th to 9th grade & it terrifies me even more after those poor little babies were innocently murdered in a place that is supposed to be safe...a place to learn & be with their friends, that I have to drop my kids off everyday to a place that I don't even know 100% that they are completely safe. I have always been against guns. Guns get into the hands of adults & children that should NEVER be in control of one & the only one that end up suffering are the innocent. More children are being killed & shot by stray bullets. People minding their own business,sitting at a bus stop, kids sleeping in their beds, kids at school, shoppers at the malls, families in movie theaters. You can't really even sit in your own living room anymore as a safe haven, because even doing that...stray bullets. I've lost a friend to suicide by a gun, I lost a young cousin to murder by a gun. Its just not worth it.
Carly December 18, 2012 at 09:43 PM
Angel, you could home school. Where is anyone 100% safe? Have you ever heard of a machete massacre. It is very brutal and effective. All the government involvement you are suggesting is very commie. And, still, those sorts of measures only make the law abiding abide the law. You cannot bubble wrap life. How about all those cars that drive into the side of a house or store? That happens too. Gun laws do NOTHING to keep guns out of the WRONG hands. They only get guns out of the RIGHT hands. You need to watch the vid (youtube) called Innocents Betrayed. It is the history of gun control. Watch it before you make a futher nitwit out of yourself by spouting commie, illogical, irrational dribble. And BTW, we had a loved one kill himself too. He hung himself.
Carly December 18, 2012 at 09:45 PM
Oh and we had our best friend's brother murdered. He was shot.
Rob Sorensen December 18, 2012 at 09:57 PM
The issue really is about mental health, care of those needing it AND better enforcement of the gun laws we ALREADY HAVE. If there is to be a new law then outlaw the guy stealing some else's gun or put a stupid tax on the parent who can't deal with the child's clear affliction for an illness where threats were already made. More laws, that won't be enforced and penalize millions, nope!
Carly December 18, 2012 at 10:09 PM
When the government wants to ban guns it really wants to enslave or genocide its own citizens....that is the REAL purpose of gun control laws.
Tim December 18, 2012 at 11:11 PM
And the common theme with all of those public places you mention is what? They are all so-called "gun free zones". This is quite ironic. There is no such thing as a gun free zone, only zones where criminals will have guns and law abiding citizens are sitting ducks.
Tim December 18, 2012 at 11:21 PM
All you people who want to reinstate the so-called "assault weapons" ban that was in place from 1994-2004 should look no further than the Columbine school shooting in 1999. That happened right smack in the middle of this law. You aren't going to stop these incidents with more laws or bans.
Lisa Kphotoalbums December 19, 2012 at 04:37 AM
James Well Written and thought out. There is more than the obvious gun, knife, and fists for physical violence. The use of other of 'tools' raise greater death tolls but we would never ban them...those are cigarettes, alcohol, cars for a start. It is as likely we will ban these and other ways to harm others as we are to ban guns. We have these too ingrained in our society for one and they are too much a part of our commercial society for another. Another is that our Country was born and forged by guns both here and abroad. Our forefathers used guns to revolt and to conquer. We use them still to do so elsewhere. It would also be hypocritical to ban guns in the USA and give them to other countries. It is unthinkable to me to not be able to defend myself from an intruder while criminals will have a free reign because they have no qualms about laws or where they get their guns. It is so much easier to point blame at the 'tool' than to look at the behavior of the person and the society that accepts the behavior. The mental illness, the criminal activity, alcoholism, stupidity and being irresponsible and texting, etc. is where we must dedicate ourselves. We must become more proactive regarding mental illness, families in distress, treating alcoholism and dealing criminally with DUI,
Albert Rubio December 19, 2012 at 04:49 AM
"School shootings are incredibly rare and, statistically, children are safer at school than they are at home, and they are far more likely to be killed by their parents than by anyone else. According to Gary Kleck, a child is more likely to be struck by lightning at school than a bullet. To put it in perspective, the homicide rate at primary schools in the UK – that nation most favoured by gun-control activists - is slightly higher than that in the United States, lest anyone thinks that school violence is endemic to the US. The fact that we have all heard of school shootings does not mean that there is much danger at all of them occurring." http://www.spiked-online.com/site/article/13183/
Bruce MacNaughton December 20, 2012 at 03:57 PM
This isn't really about guns. It is about the willingness of people to take responsibility to defend themselves. In the last year there have been two instances in China where crazy men killed 20 school children with knives. Guns are illegal there but it doesn't stop violence nor crazy people. If anyone in the school had a gun he wouldn't have racked up the death toll. Shall we outlaw kitchen knives and machetes the first time this happens in the U.S. When the nutcase in Norway killed so many teens on the island he was amazed that when he stopped to reload no one made an attempt to escape of attack him - were they waiting to be saved by the police or the government? People, even children and teachers, need to take responsibility for surviving even if it means risking their lives - it's better than waiting to die. Flight 93 should have taught us all something - evil only is possible when good does nothing. Bad people will get guns. Good people should have guns too. And someone that stops a mass murderer should be recognized as a hero, not prosecuted. Self preservation starts with the individual, not the government or the police or luck of the draw.
Albert Rubio December 20, 2012 at 04:16 PM
It is a mistake to say we cannot allow the massacre of innocents by protecting the rights of a few (as Obama said in so many words). This is a FALSE comparison. The fundamental argument AGAINST GUN CONTROL is that IT DOES NOT WORK. The means employed will not result in the ends aimed at. If someone wanted to cure diseases by the application of leeches, the same argument would apply. The idea of human rights is not an argument against gun control in itself, but a philosophy for the conditions necessary for the constant improvement of Human Life in Society. It is not a theory of Utopia nor does it attempt the impossible to change or reform the nature of man. An engineered society ceases to be a Human Society. There is also a false assumption that the government can effect any controls so long as it applies enough force and spends enough money. It still cannot cure with leeches.
Nadja Adolf December 23, 2012 at 08:43 AM
Firearms are used in self-defense nearly a million times a year. Many years ago I was confronted by a knife carrying man who wore only a ski mask and running shoes who forced his way through a window into my home; what haunts me still is that he giggled when he saw me see him. He stepped on to the desk below the window and told me what he intended to do - and as I was trying to move to the door I stepped on a rifle that had been put under the bed by my then husband after he had been out with a friend that day. I picked it up and pointed it at him. He rolled back out the window like a rat rolls off a curb and down a street drain. I spent the rest of the night sitting with my back to the wall, the window wide open, the wind and the cold blowing in, afraid to go to the desk below the window, where the phone was, and call the police. I was afraid he was right outside. When I finally worked up my nerve, there were no officers available. Someone had been brutally raped several blocks away. Years later I told the story to a prominent Florida criminologist. He told me that the man had done it before and was practiced; that the reason he had remained on the desk is he was waiting for me to be distracted with opening the door, and then it would be safest for him - the predator - to attack me. He told me I had done the absolutely right thing.
Nadja Adolf December 23, 2012 at 08:46 AM
The New York system is actually *worse* than the California system. EVERY system where an official is allowed to use "discretion" rather than clear, absolute guidelines, tends to discriminate against both minorities and lower income people. In many cases minorities and lower income people are the ones in greatest need of being able to defend themselves. Odd requirements creep in - questions about how much money one generally carries, or the jewelry one generally wears. Apparently a Rolex is more valuable than the life of a poor person.
Nadja Adolf December 23, 2012 at 08:49 AM
Alex, are you kidding me? Many modern hunting rifles are semi-automatics, fitted with the appropriate magazine size for the state regulations in question. Bolt actions are also popular. Please tell me what you hunt; I'm intrigued by your statements. You're either abysmally ignorant of your own sport or not particularly forthright.
Nadja Adolf December 23, 2012 at 08:56 AM
The argument Obama made about the alleged "rights of a few" is that the same argument can be made about freedom of the press or freedom of religion. After all, one can argue that there should be laws against certain religions - Wahhabism, FLDS, the Rev. Jim Jones. Who draws the line? Let's outlaw violent TV shows - I took a quick survey tonight and found that on just a few of the popular broadcast and cable channels, there were more than 100 murders - some real, some fictional. What about those video and arcade games that use the same technology as is used to train soldiers to kill without a major emotional response? Or those aircraft simulators that allow any idiot to figure out how to fly a drone easily made from RC aircraft parts? Among the more intriguing suggestions for murder seen on TV in the last few weeks are arson, poisoning beverages with antifreeze or other toxic substances, shooting, knifing, running down with vehicles, bombs made from easily available substances, etc. I think people willing to trade freedom for security not only deserve neither; but will receive neither.
Alex December 23, 2012 at 10:48 AM
So Nadja, what makes you an expert in hunting? Do you really know what the whole conversation is about and maybe not? It’s not about shotguns killing kids; it’s not about killing children with a .22, and not about using a Remington 798. It is about semi-automatic weapons, with enough rounds to shoot "100 shots" in a matter of minutes, but you may not be aware about the magazines for so called assault-style weapons which are generally controlled at 10 rounds, but 100-round drums can be found. If you do get it by now, you never will. You need to live outside your box. By the way Nadia, when you defended yourself in your own home, it must have been a non-semi automatic rifle; you did not brag that it was not. Congrats for not owning a semi-automatic rifle.
Nadja Adolf December 24, 2012 at 07:19 PM
A 9mm is right up there with a .38 Special ++P, isn't it?
Nadja Adolf December 24, 2012 at 07:23 PM
Recently KCBS has given a lot of free air time to a woman from the Brady Bunch who wants firearms banned because she is a survivor of the Grenada Hills Jewish Center spree killing. KCBS - and she - ignore the fact that the Neo-Nazi involved first stole the firearms used from Ft. Lewis, a military base in the Puget Sound area, and that his original target was a Jewish Center in the Pacific Northwest. He abandoned his original plan and drove all of the way from the Puget Sound area, by Seattle, to southern California after discovering that the Jewish Center he originally intended to attack had armed staff members. He bypassed another since he apparently feared that their might be concealed carry permit holders on the premises. To me, that says it all.
Nadja Adolf December 24, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Alex, you are truly ignorant of firearms. Tim has your number; and so do I. Shooting hundreds of rounds in minutes at one shot per trigger pull on an autoloader (also referred to as a semi-automatic.)? Most autoloaders couldn't handle either the heat and do not have a fast enough reload to get close to "hundreds of rounds in minutes." Quick, can you tell me why rural deputies and game wardens in cold climate areas often carry revolvers instead of autoloaders? I'll bet Jason, Tim, Albert, and several others can - and you can't.
Albert Rubio December 27, 2012 at 07:22 PM
would the anti gun crowd support a total ban on guns including the police? Why not if gun bans actually work? (answer please) It would prevent unlawful deaths like these too: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/04/cleveland-police-shooting-137-shots-timothy-russell-malissa-williams_n_2239675.html
Albert Rubio December 28, 2012 at 12:44 AM
I admit that I was surprised about this... "Surprising fact: Half of gun deaths are suicides" http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25463844/ns/us_news-life/t/surprising-fact-half-gun-deaths-are-suicides/#.UNzjBuS_GSo

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