Wednesday, July 30, 2014         


 Print   Email   Comment | View 19 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

Shocking rampage resurrects gun-control debate

By Mark Landler and Erica Goode

New York Times


WASHINGTON » In the emotional statement on the Newtown, Conn., shootings that President Barack Obama delivered from the White House on Friday, it was a single line, spoken as much in anger as in grief, that stood out. The words were cautious and were immediately criticized for being too timid. But they may have signaled that the long-dormant debate over the nation's gun laws is about to be re-engaged.

"We're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics," Obama said, listing the devastation wrought by other gun violence, from a recent attack at an Oregon shopping mall to the shootings in a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., in July.

But New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg spoke for many gun-control advocates, who have been frustrated and disappointed by Obama's failure to embrace the issue, when he said he wanted to hear much more.

"Calling for ‘meaningful action' is not enough. We need immediate action," said Bloomberg, who is leader of a group of mayors against illegal gun ownership.

White House officials professed not to know what Obama's pledge for "meaningful action" meant. And the president stopped short of detailing any new initiatives.

Pressed about whether Obama would use the tragedy to fuel a new effort, White House spokes­man Jay Carney said the administration did not want to politicize a tragedy.

But politics intruded almost immediately. Bloomberg's group organized a vigil in front of the White House to demand action. On Capitol Hill there was an outpouring of condolences and a predictably partisan split on how to respond.

Republicans and many moderate Demo­crats expressed their horror at the mass killing but were either silent on a legislative response or said it was not time to talk about gun control. But liberal Demo­crats said it was time to move forward with serious gun laws.

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., whose husband was one of six people killed in a shooting on the Long Island Rail Road in 1993, said she would resume her quest for broad gun-violence legislation, including reinstating the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004.

As the debate over gun control flares anew, it is likely to focus on the types of two of the guns that were found with Connecticut shooting suspect Adam Lanza: a Glock pistol and a Bushmaster .223 M4 carbine rifle, which are similar in type to the weapons used in the mass shootings in Oregon and Colo­rado. Both guns are popular for target shooting and self-defense, and have been singled out by gun-control advocates because of their ability to rapidly fire multiple rounds and accommodate large magazines.

But Republicans said tighter gun-control measures would be the wrong step.

"That's one thing I hope doesn't happen," said Rep. Mike Rogers, a senior Michigan Republican who is a former FBI agent. "What the more realistic discussion is, How do we target people with mental illness who use firearms?"

Kristen Rand, legislative director for the Violence Policy Center, a gun-control advocacy group, said it was too early to say whether the Newtown massacre would yield different political results from previous mass shootings, including the attack that nearly took the life of a member of Congress, Gabri­elle Giffords of Arizona.

But she said she believes it would for two reasons: The victims were children, which has elicited a gut-wrenching response across the country, and the National Rifle Association proved to be a political paper tiger in the 2012 election.

David Chipman, a former special agent at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms who is now a consultant to Mayors Against Illegal Guns, said he believed the shooting was "a game changer."

In Colorado, a state that was rocked by the 1999 Columbine High School massacre and the Aurora movie theater shooting, Friday's massacre renewed debate over why mass shootings keep occurring and whether gun control can stop them.

"Until we get our acts together and stop making these … weapons available, this is going to keep happening," said an angry Tom Teves, whose son Alex was killed in the theater shooting.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 Print   Email   Comment | View 19 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

You must be subscribed to participate in discussions
By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. Because only subscribers are allowed to comment, we have your personal information and are able to contact you. If your comments are inappropriate, you may receive a warning, and if you persist with such comments you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email commentfeedback@staradvertiser.com.
Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.
palani wrote:
We should do everything possible to protect against such irrational and unpredictable acts of violence by madmen. However, gun control is not the the answer. On this same Friday, 11/14/12, in China, a crazed man with a knife injured 22 primary school children. This was just one in a series of unfathomable attacks on the innocent. Read more at:


on December 15,2012 | 04:03AM
onevoice82 wrote:
You are correct palani! Additional gun laws will not stop this new "fad". Have drug laws stopped drugs? Have speeding laws stopped speeders. These are isolated incidents by people who are inherently evil. They have no concience and that is what is so hard for normal people to grasp. What we need is armed teachers or at the very least, armed security, in every school, every theater chain, every tourist destination, every airport, every bus or train depot.......other countries are way ahead of us on this! I am so upset that there was no one at that school who could not protect those children. The teachers did the best they could with what they had, which was not a gun!
on December 15,2012 | 05:45AM
serious wrote:
This is complicated: what I heard on TV was that his mother bought the guns!! Why? Assault guns!! Now they should be outlawed--how many deer can you kill in a herd???? Weapons for protection--no problem. In Alaska you can carry a weapon concealed or not.
on December 15,2012 | 06:33AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Careful with your definitions. An AR 15 or .223 bushmaster are NOT "assault weapons". They are semi-automatic carbines. An assault weapon has fire selection including full automatic and these are already illegal in the US. Just because an AR 15 looks like a big, bad mean rifle doesn't mean that it is the same as a military weapon.
on December 15,2012 | 08:28AM
tigerwarrior wrote:
Interestingly, in the state of Connecticut, although there is a partial ban on some assault weapons it does allow ownership of some NFA approved assault rifles. Even more interesting, in CT, legal select fire weapons must have their semi-automatic feature disabled--only fully-automatic(machine guns per NFA definition) are allowed under federal law. Can't quite see the logic in that. Additionally, as far as concealed carry (CCW) laws go, Connecticut is classified as a "May-Issue" state yet is considered by many to be "Shall-Issue" in practice, citing Article 1-Section 15 of the Constitution. Meaning, despite Connecticut's seemingly strict gun control policy, concealed and open carry permits are issued to all qualified applicants. Since you brought up the topic of assault type weapons, it should also be stated that under federal law, firearms with a barrel less than 12 inches in length are considered handguns. So for example, some gun enthusiast may decide to build a firearm with a pre-ban AK/AR rifle lower, with a barrel less than 12", and this will be considered a handgun--not an assault rifle, allowing such a weapon to be carried around Connecticut legally. And keep in mind that there are no restrictions on magazine capacity either. All I'm really trying to say is that for those who claim that Connecticut's gun control laws are already too strict may need to reconsider their position if they were really versed in the laws.
on December 16,2012 | 03:10AM
mulen wrote:
The chinese children are still alive.
on December 15,2012 | 07:01AM
HawaiiCheeseBall wrote:
Stop confusing the issue with facts.
on December 15,2012 | 07:44AM
palani wrote:
Yesterday's China incident was but one of many, especially in 2010. And, yes, children did die in those other attacks. See: [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_attacks_in_China_%282010%E2%80%932011%29]
on December 15,2012 | 09:25AM
DABLACK wrote:
Whatever the brains at congress do......it'll all be POLITICAL. The citizens must be protected ! And being elected to the level of "GOD", Some crazy will always disrupt the norm.
on December 15,2012 | 06:55AM
soundofreason wrote:
on December 16,2012 | 08:47AM
SLA wrote:
These incidents seem to point to a failure of the mental health system, not a lack of gun control laws. The mental health system has been dysfunctional in many ways for a long time. It's time for effective screening and treatment, maybe Obamacare can play a positive role here.
on December 15,2012 | 08:17AM
soundofreason wrote:
Only do be undone by O'bama's welfare programs as we pay to feed people who can't "function" in society - as they stay home and "make" more people who can't function in society.
on December 16,2012 | 07:25AM
Publicbraddah wrote:
Over time, America has slowly moved away from a country capable of coming together to solve problems to a country whose approach to problem solving is to divide itself. The chasm of division has grown wider and wider. Gun control is one of those issues. Based on the sheer number of gun violence, can we all agree that the current laws are not working? Based on this, can we just work together (gun advocates and gun control advocates) to come up with some real answers? I think it is definitely possible. One major roadblock seems to be Congress playing political football with people's lives. There's the current fiscal cliff issue and now this. What does it take to get their heads out of the sand?
on December 15,2012 | 09:02AM
Carang_da_buggahz wrote:
Once again, gun control advocates will use a highly charged emotional issue to try and force restrictions on the law abiding public. These short sighted idiots think that by enacting even more gun control laws that these kinds of tragedies will be eliminated once and for all. Nothing could be further from the truth. When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. As they say, criminals prefer unarmed victims. You can have my guns when you pry them from my cold, stiff hands. Back off.
on December 16,2012 | 10:38AM
tigerwarrior wrote:
According to some news sources, an AR-15 equipped with high-capacity magazines (i.e., 30 round capacity) were used in the shooting rampage. My guess is that if this AR derivative was legally registered in the state of Connecticut, it was probably fully-automatic and modified with a barrel that was less 12 inches in length--which in essence would make it a legally owned handgun in the state of Connecticut. See above comment. While this AR-15 wasn't quite as powerful as a military issue AK--it's quite capable of killing several people in a brief duration of time--as was clearly shown in this horrendous incident. That being said, are you still in favor of allowing civilians to be issued permits to legally conceal and carry fully-automatic assault rifles equipped with high-capacity magazines--which are basically machine guns--around town? What purpose would this serve, may I ask?
on December 16,2012 | 12:05PM
hawaiikone wrote:
I have always been under the impression fully automatic weapons were only allowed to be owned by FFA licensed dealers, and not allowed for public use. Could you cite your reference?
on December 16,2012 | 03:30PM
tigerwarrior wrote:
Here's one reputable reference: www.nraila.org/gun-laws/state-laws/connecticut.aspx If you scroll down to the subheading "MACHINE GUN", there it states, "It is lawful to possess a machine gun in compliance with federal law, provided annual registration takes place with state police." Bear in mind that as far as federal laws are concerned, the assault weapons ban expired back in 2004. President Obama has spoken numerous times on reinstating this ban, the most recent, just yesterday (Sunday). Connecticut, which arguably has the 4th strictest gun laws in the U.S. does have a partial ban on some assault weapons with certain characteristics. If you scroll down to the subheading, "ASSAULT WEAPONS", it lists these weapons that are currently banned in CT. Keep in mind that this list is preceded by, "semi-automatic" assault weapons with select fire capability, which are as a whole banned and illegal to own. One banned assault weapond that comes up very often is the Colt AR-15, which is equipped with select fire capability (both semi-automatic and automatic). However, like was stated under the heading "MACHINE GUNS", fully automatic assault weapons, are in general legal in CT, with the exception of a few. It appears that some gun enthusiasts in the state of Connecticut are looking for loopholes in the state and local gun laws, many of which contain preemption issues and ambiguities. If you were to go to any gun forum that discusses gun ownership in Connecticut, chances are you'll find several enthusiasts who speak about purchasing pre-ban (e.g., manufactured prior to 9/13/94) assault rifle lowers and receivers, in order to conform to local and state gun laws in Connecticut. In light of the shooting rampage, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy spoke recently of the potential loopholes in the state assault weapons ban.
on December 17,2012 | 02:24AM
hawaiikone wrote:
From my research it seems as though in 1934 federal law required extremely stringent controls for fully automatic weapons including very extensive background checks, adequate reasons, mental evaluation, Federal registration, etc. In 1986 all automatic weapons were banned from public possession, with grandfathering of existing weapons. The majority of states have legislated even stricter laws against these types of guns. Apparently pre-ban guns can cost as much as $20,000, with the average being around $5000. Every transaction has to be approved by federal and state authorities. Also, I could not find any examples of any mass murders having been committed with legal machine guns in recent history. To summarize, it appears as though a lot of collectors do possess and deal in legal pre ban machine guns, at a level of cost and investigation that precludes the vast majority of gun owners from participating. Whether regulating that particular group is necessary remains a subject for debate.
on December 17,2012 | 07:03AM
LanaUlulani wrote:

Rest in pease little sweeties.

For the opportunistic arrogant zealots who think that disarming innocents will solve the annihilating of innocent children problem... it won't. When you disarm innocents you empower criminals to hurt us. Think it through instead of PANICKING.

You see law abiding people are NOT allowed to carry weapons for SELF defense in places like theaters and schools. They can lose their professional licensng thus their LIVELIHOOD.
CONVERSELY psychos and criminals know EXACTLY where to find unarmed innocents like at schools. Your ARROGANCE does not solve the annihilating of innocent children problem. It only exacerbates it.

on December 17,2012 | 07:28AM
Latest News/Updates