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Is Now the Time to Talk Gun Control?

Does the massacre at Newtown, CT, signal the need for a political debate on gun regulations?

Before officials had even held their first press conference Friday, Facebook was abuzz with status updates about the Newtown, CT, massacre. The statuses were split between those sending their condolences and those asking if the country would finally deal with the issue of gun control.

Some fought back, asking for respect and mourning before political debate began. Others remained fierce in their belief that stricter gun control regulations would have prevented such a mass killing, saying the victims were shot multiple times and with semi-automatic weapons, according to Fox News.

The guns were not illegal and were, in fact, owned by the shooter's mother. Among them were a semi-automatic .223 caliber bushmaster rifle and two handguns. Those who knew Nancy Lanza said guns were a hobby of hers. 

Should the massacre in Newtown, CT, be the tipping point for political debate on gun control? Is there a need for stricter regulations? Tell us why in the comments.

Proud Resident of Northborough January 01, 2013 at 05:25 PM
Most semi auto guns have the _capability_ to accept a high capacity mag. Not sure what the difference is between semi auto fire and "rapid" semi auto fire. Speed is more a function of the shooter vs the gun. Regarding bullet weight, there is plenty of factory ammo that is lighter than 50 gr, available for .223. So called AW are rarely used in homicides. When they are, it is no more and no less as horrific than any other homicide. In 2011, there were 8583 murders with firearms in the US. Of those 6220 were with handguns, 323 with all rifles, 356 shotguns, and the balance with "unknown firearms". The 323 with rifles represent less than 4%. Only a very small percent of these can be linked to AW. If people are truly interested in curbing violence, why the emphasis on AW?
Avon Barksdale January 01, 2013 at 05:33 PM
I am in favor of sensible limitations on machine guns. But I am also in favor of every citizen's god-given right to possess and utilize nuclear weapons.
Michael Fleming January 01, 2013 at 05:35 PM
David Kent- Your firm assurance on the safety and the perpetuity of the 2nd amendment is duly noted. Your faith in our countries founding documents is reassuring. However, the assault on the Constitution has begun. This mornings op Ed piece by a constitutional scholar in the New York Times is titled: "Lets Give Up on the Constitution" it makes for some eye opening reading. This is just the beginning. Remember, any rights that you may think you have are only one SCOTUS nomination away from being removed.
David Kent January 01, 2013 at 06:03 PM
Michael, You overlooked the main point of my post which was: Supreme Court interpretation of the Constitution does not provide a limitless right to bear arms. Rather, it explicitly allows the Federal Gov't and the States to regulate/restrict gun ownership. You think the SCOTUS protection against total banning of guns is weaker than I say it is. Fair enough. We disagree. That's life. But that's very separate from the main point I've restated above. Do you believe that the SCOTUS has given the Federal gov't and the States the power to regulate gun ownership short of totally banning runs or not? And a request: Please, let's not debate particular regulations like a possible AW ban. This is, again, one of those philosophical/constitutional questions that I've found you very reluctant to answer.
Dennis Wilson January 01, 2013 at 08:10 PM
Mr. Fleming, I am not going to get into a back & forth with you. I reject your fear mongering as shown in your comments copied below: "the assault on the Constitution has begun." "Remember, any rights that you may think you have are only one SCOTUS nomination away from being removed." Earlier today, Andy Koenigsberg, suggested weapons fitting a specific description should be banned. Would you, yes or no, support such a ban as re-stated below? "...definition of an "assault rifle" would be any semi-automatic rifle capable of taking a high capacity magazine AND is capable of rapid semi-automatic fire AND that uses high power ammunition (let's say 50 grains or higher with a ballistic energy of 1500 joules or greater). " I join David Kent in asking you to directly respond to his oft-repeated question.
David Kent January 01, 2013 at 08:53 PM
Dennis, I’ve asked 2 questions of gun control opponents here but have received very little answer: a. Do you agree or don’t you agree that the Supreme Court allows the Federal gov’t and the States to regulate/limit guns? b. Would you accept a restriction of your gun rights “that hurt” (something less than trivial) if that restriction would benefit society? Those are the hard questions for gun advocates. I sure would like to hear a gun control opponent answer them forthrightly. No luck so far.
Michael Fleming January 01, 2013 at 09:00 PM
Dennis I would reply to you as directly as I can. That ban as defined by you/Koenigsberg I would DEFINITLY not support. Sorry for the burst of clarity. When the question is clear, the definitions clear, I can without hesitation be equally clear. No. I would NOT support that legislation. How's that for reluctance to answer? The constitution indeed allows limitations on the 2nd amendment just as limits on other constitutional rights have limits. I got it. But those limits are seen currently in the 20,000 or so laws, regulations, permits, fees, registrations, restrictions that already exist. I believe weapons should be registered. I believe fully automatic weapons should be banned from ANY private use. THERE are your constitutional limits. There are your reasonable restraints on gun ownership. Many gun owners chaff at their existence, but I believe that compromise was necessary. But because of a news story that enflames emotion, we now want to widen banning guns that can accept a clip? Sorry boys, you lose me there. Too big of a bite of my rights, too little benefit to society.Remember, I and others keep our guns as a final bulwark against tyranny, not to go hunting to keep our larders full, but to make enslaving American citizens an onerous task for some current or future leader who feels he or she knows better than the citizens themselves. All guns that accept clips? Are you friggin kidding me? That's most of the rifles that exist. Again, my answer is: my cold dead hands.
David Kent January 02, 2013 at 03:03 AM
Uncle, I see you're using the standard red herring: "They're going to ban all of our weapons!". The SCOTUS has protected you from that. Michael will say that protection isn't absolute. OK, then how about this? Let's return to the tedious, all purpose "slippery slope" rational when and if the SCOTUS reverses itself. Until then, you've got bulletproof protection. So, as things stand today an AW ban WOULD NOT threaten your weapons for self protection.
David Nolta January 02, 2013 at 03:18 AM
Once again, DGM, it isn't a simple "either-or" thing. Yes, like it or not, historians would agree that the French government bankrolled, to a crucial extent, our Revolution. That revolution was also dependent to a large extent upon French intellectual progress. We would not be "US" without the French. That we have done them enormous favors, too, is beyond question. But your response is antagonistic and unnecessarily defensive; nobody said we didn't help them. The pro-French comments were in response to the usual nasty guy telling other posters to "go to France". Reminding readers that France is a great country, to which America owes a lot, is not a challenge to right-minded people to claim "they owe us more". So again, vive la France! A country with, among other things, better gun control than ours.
David Nolta January 02, 2013 at 03:41 AM
You have been forthcoming, but only up to a point. These guns that you need for protection, do you think there should be limits in the numbers you keep (you can only fire so many at a time)? Do you think that, if and when any of the guns you legally possess, turn up in the hands of criminals, YOU should be responsible, morally but above all financially, for whatever destruction they cause? People on this site keep saying that cars cause more deaths than guns (though no one, as yet, has claimed that more murders are deliberately caused by cars than guns). Cars are insured. Shouldn't gun owners be required to insure their weapons against the damage they so often--as in Newtown--cause? This tyranny your guns are a bulwark against: do you define it, identify it, take action against it, based only on your individual perception? Isn't that a bit subjective and one-sided, to say the least? Remind me, why am I supposed to take for granted that you are a "good guy"? What do you think about the basic rights of people NOT to be surrounded by guns and by people whose guns are a tangible declaration of a physical power to destroy--in a way, and on a scale, that no car--not even a Volvo or a Hummer--can destroy? As for your cold dead hands, that's getting rather old, and is about as convincing and sensitive as a Charlton Heston performance...
Gretchen Robinson January 02, 2013 at 08:16 AM
so....all this time I've been sitting back and wondering when someone would ask a question about Adam Lanza's father. I even made 2 comments about 'mother blaming' (which comes so easily in this culture) and still no one comments on Adam's father who has now claimed his son's body. http://articles.courant.com/2012-12-31/news/hc-adam-lanza-body-claimed-1231-20121230_1_burial-site-carver-newtown what do you think of a father who doesn't see his son for 2 years? what's the backstory here? don't you think we should have been asking this question weeks ago???
Gretchen Robinson January 02, 2013 at 08:17 AM
follow up to preceding post. Families as "First Responders" Helping families deal with a troubled child or young adult, can head off violence. ttp://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/12/in-psychiatric-illness-families-must-be-our-first-responders/266628/#.UNzGz9avuWY.email
Michael Fleming January 02, 2013 at 03:41 PM
David Just FYI, when addressing someone on this thread, post the persons avatar or name at the beginning so they know who you are responding to. These posts can get separated by a number of replys, and suddenly, the person you are addressing does not know it is him. My comments were aimed at Dennis, but it seems I am now responding to you. (which is fine) Or am I? We're you talking to DGM? Me? Or someone else? A name at the beginning makes conversational threads easier to follow.
Telling it like it is January 02, 2013 at 05:08 PM
Another senseless knife attack claims Boston's first murder victim. When will the citizens rise up and ban all butter knives, as I've suggested in the past? Where is Cheryl Jacques when we need her most?
David Nolta January 02, 2013 at 05:21 PM
Because someone can--and people often do--kill with things other than guns, does not change the fact that in America, guns are the weapon of choice among murderers (and no, cars are not close when it comes to actual planned and deliberate murders). Despite the frequency of comments such as yours, TILII, it seems rather callous to make a joke of it. Almost anything could conceivably be a weapon. But things that are produced to harm and destroy life--like poisons, like guns--are rightly regulated by concerned citizens.
Mark Cain January 03, 2013 at 12:52 AM
Gun Owners Mad As Hell And Will Not Take It! http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/52104?utm_source=CFP+Mailout&utm_campaign=43cddf70a6-Call_to_Champions&utm_medium=email
David Nolta January 03, 2013 at 12:57 AM
Spaghetti Western talk.
Mark Cain January 03, 2013 at 01:07 AM
Interesting article on people getting ready for things to come.. Something funny happened on the way to tyranny http://www.bob-owens.com/2012/12/something-funny-happened-on-the-way-to-the-tyranny/
David Nolta January 03, 2013 at 01:09 AM
I am confident that the appropriate, interested individuals read my post. But thanks for the advice.
David Nolta January 03, 2013 at 01:12 AM
Fear is not that interesting, and fear-mongering and muscle-flexing do not an interesting article make.
Gretchen Robinson January 03, 2013 at 02:19 AM
Mark, bullies like the NRA are going to find out that they have lost their lock on Congress and Senate. The US electorate has seen the self-serving, blind, cruel nature of what the NRA 'offers' and we want none of it. The times are a changing. Get out of your bubble of self-reinforcing rants and mock injustice. It's going nowhere.
Gretchen Robinson January 03, 2013 at 02:22 AM
the NRA, Tea Potty, and extremist Republicans represent tyranny. The rule of the few over the many, where the middle class is enslaved to the wealthy, CEOs, Corporations. People are waking up.
Carla January 03, 2013 at 03:24 AM
Once again calling all conservatives extremist! And what were the 99% occupied movement?? Middle of the road? No, they are the extremist on the other side! There are conservatives who are against owning assault weapons. When your not judging conservatives then its Adam Lanza's father! Maybe you should walk in his shoes for a day before you start spewing your hate!
Gretchen Robinson January 03, 2013 at 04:19 AM
Carla, I was responding to the previous post. The NRA represents itself as preserving "Liberty" but that's a lie. 20 children lost their lives. Where was their liberty. I'm wondering how many of the guys here are fathers? And would they be out of touch with their son for two years? Most of the men I know would be distraught to be excluded from their child's life. I'm actually not judging the father or anyone's parental role. I'm asking questions that the press and investigators should have been asked sooner. If you read my posts, you will see that I'm chiding people for not asking about the father sooner. And I've pointed out the automatic 'mother blaming.' I'm not into judging or blaming individuals. This is a family tragedy as well as a Newtown and a national tragedy. I will judge and indict the NRA which needs to be held accountable for their extreme irresponsibility and betrayal of the US with it's zealotry in defending guns and excusing gun violence. What I am also saying is, there are lessons we need to learn about how to prevent such incidents. Please read previous posts and follow thread.
Michael Fleming January 03, 2013 at 04:33 AM
Gretchen Still waiting to hear your rationalization about referring gun owners as "gun nuts".
David Kent January 03, 2013 at 11:04 AM
The NRA stands for 'liberty"? Sure. The liberty of a special interest group - gun owners - at the expense of society. Sorry NRA, et. al. your interest group DOES NOT possess that liberty. The Constitution doesn't give it to them. No, like the rest of us their rights must be balanced against the needs of society, as the Supreme Court routinely does. Now gun owners have every right to argue that their rights are more important then the negative effects upon society of unrestricted gun ownership. Reasonable people can disagree upon that. But the NRA is NOT protecting an inviolate right provided by the Constitution. That's a complete red herring.
Doug Melanson January 03, 2013 at 12:01 PM
and how many shooting did Chicago have last year? Yeah a gun ban works huh! Seems some criminals didn't get the memo.
Gretchen Robinson January 03, 2013 at 12:14 PM
this is bound to stir the pot here and give gun lovers more ammo. For the record I disagree with most of this but maybe it will serve as an example of having the facts and figures and still getting to a wrong conclusion. http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/the-riddle-of-the-gun Harris is the author of "Free Will" "Lying" "The Moral Landscape" and "The End of Faith"
Doug Melanson January 03, 2013 at 12:16 PM
Gretchen, Sure lets blame him for not being a good Dad but he was out of the picture for years. Lets Really blame the 2 people that caused this. The Mother supplied weapons to an unstable young man by not locking them up and the blame is his obviously for what he did. I don't know why you continue to go after the Father. There isn't anything sexist going on just looking at who actually caused it.
Doug Melanson January 03, 2013 at 12:21 PM
NICE!!! Carla rocks. Gretchen doesn't care about saving lives or gun control. She is an extremist.

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