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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.

In Wilmington, Police Chief Michael Begonis said that while he will leave the big policy debate to politicians, he also believes there is no harm in at least starting a discussion on gun control.

"I don't think there's anything wrong with a meaningful discussion from all sides on an issue such as this," said Begonis. "That's what makes America so great is that we can do that. And we should do that. As things happen we should adapt and make changes that are helpful in our response to this type of thing."

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.

MJ Byrnes December 19, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Matt- As a parent and citizen, I believe the real issue here, as I see it, is that someone should start the discussion on appropiate funding for mental Health services and special Education in our country. Guns don't kill people, people kill people. And, these services time and again are the first to suffer budgetary cuts every FY. Even with the funding school districts received last year, it is not enough to counteract the inflation these areas see. I am hoping the media will address and ask the tough questions. I, for one, want answers.
Resident December 19, 2012 at 06:44 PM
As a parent and a teacher... This is not a gun issue it is a mental health issue.
J.R. December 19, 2012 at 09:19 PM
It is very important to improve access to mental health services, but it is also very important that we implement common sense gun regulations. It only makes sense to create policies that include detailed background checks, waiting periods and thorough gun safety training for people wanting to own firearms. None of those policies would keep people from owning guns. We also need to close the gun show loopholes. And, really, after every mass shooting, those of us in favor of closing some loopholes are bullied into silence with, "Now isn't the time to talk about gun control. Now is the time to mourn and honor the victims." Well, what better way to honor these poor babies and their teachers than to try to do everything we can to prevent more shootings? These are shootings. There are guns involved. We have to at a bare minimum talk about it. It's BOTH a gun issue and a mental health issue.
Karl Ian Sagal December 20, 2012 at 02:21 PM
It is important to note that the guns used were not the shooter's. They belonged to and were taken from the mother. They were registered to her. Also, while the federal assault weapon ban had expired, Connecticut has their own. So, gun control may be a reasonable topic, but it is not at all germane to this situation, and is only a topic to satisfy people who want an answer and explanation for this evil act, when there is no easy answer. I do not believe that either mother or son had a criminal record. I see no ideas on gun control that would have affected this travesty. Crazy or evil people will find a way to hurt and kill people. A gun is a tool. When a person misuses a tool, it makes sense to focus on the person, not the tool.
MO December 20, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Agree with J.R....But it is greater than that, it is a violence issue. We have a "violence" issue in this country...and why??? The answer lies in a number of things including violence on TV, video games, media, etc. Our culture is getting too de-sensitized to it. We see killing people on TV as a form of entertainment. Violence is glorified in this country. And YES guns are a problem in this country too. There are just too many of them. They are just too accessible. The simple fact is that other countries like Japan, China, Australia, Great Britain don't have nearly as many gun related deaths and mass killings as the US...and why?? The answer is simple. Its not because they have better mental health care, its not because they don't watch CSI, its not because they are better human beings than Americans, its because the have had stricter gun controls for years. Please spare me your BS that "Guns don't kill people...people kill people". The fact is people KILL people...and children WITH guns and that's a FACT. And please spare me your "Right to Bare Arms" lingo...do you really think our forefathers had the foresight to imagine their country with such mass killings of innocent men, women, and children? It horrifies me that some people's answer to the American violence is that everyone should carry a gun...that's the dumbest thing I ever heard! Are we a militant nation? a third world country?? No, we are much more civilized and better than that....its time we start acting like it!
MO December 20, 2012 at 02:46 PM
When has America had a mass killing by a crazy or Evil person without such tools? The problem is these tools are designed to kill. Do you really think if this killer did not have access to the weapons he did it wouldn't have made a difference?? That's a stretch.
Resident December 20, 2012 at 02:46 PM
We need to find a way to help the parents of with children with mental issues. A lot of them are afraid of them and feel helpless.
Mario Marchese December 20, 2012 at 04:10 PM
MO - Does the name Timothy McVeigh ring a bell??
MO December 20, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Yes Mario, Good one...but don't forget he was pulled over shortly after the attack for driving without a license plate and unlawful possession of a firearm (go figure?). Look at the amount of shootings since that awful day in 1995: http://timelines.latimes.com/deadliest-shooting-rampages/ Still think gun violence is not a problem?
Wayne Sullivan December 20, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Karl - seriously??? You state the following: "A gun is a tool. When a person misuses a tool, it makes sense to focus on the person, not the tool." A gun is a tool? When is the last time you saw a gun sold at the local hardware store, Home Depot, Lowe's or Sears in the tool section? A gun is a tool for what exactly? Here's my response...when a person misuses the WORD TOOL, you should focus on the person and not on the tool!
Resident December 20, 2012 at 05:41 PM
Proves that it is a mental health issue. Sick people will always find ways do to horrible things to others.
Maya December 20, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Gun control alone isn't the solution but it is part of it. We need to get rid of semi-automatic weapons. Unless you are a soldier or on a SWAT team, why do you need a weapon like that? I think we also need to look into adding more resources for families of mental health patients. And we need to stop glorifying the people who commit these crimes in the media.
Karl Ian Sagal December 21, 2012 at 03:42 AM
There are people who don't like or understand guns, and they want to blame the guns for the problems, but the guns did not do it. Look at the crime rates in places that have more guns per person, like the western states, and places like Texas, and compare it to crime rates in places where guns are highly regulated, like Massachusetts and Connecticut. People can rant all they like, but it does not change the actual facts. Some countries do regulate and illegalize guns for their citizens. That is true. But they also do not have constitutional rights. China has is an interesting model to be offered to us. I believe they still have their children max at 1, so I wonder what happens to those girls? And Norway has some of the most restrictive gun laws, yet they had a pretty bad time last summer... All that said, I do not have a problem with some restrictions on some types of guns, or safety screenings on purchases. But the point of the safety screenings is again focusing on the person, not the gun. And again I say, lets look at what is really killing our people. Cigarettes is a biggie. Wait till smoking pot becomes more popular, and that smoke in the lungs will be doing the same. Cars kill a lot of people. Obesity also kills a lot of people. All in all, getting killed by a nut with a gun is a pretty slim chance. Unless you live in a city like Chicago, where there are lots of gun restrictions in place already.
Resident December 21, 2012 at 01:20 PM
Sick people will always find ways to hurt people. Be it by home made bombs, poising, knives, cars… When people who have not had the opportunity to grow up in a house that has taught proper gun handling and respect hear the word gun it automatically means BAD to them. Most people who say they want to ban assault weapons have absolutely no idea what they actually mean. What is an assault weapon? Fully Automatic? Already restricted. Is it by looks? So it can function the same, but if it looks different it is BAD. Sounds a lot like something else…

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