Calls for renewed discussion on gun violence intensify after school shooting
December 15th, 2012
06:40 PM ET
1 year ago

Calls for renewed discussion on gun violence intensify after school shooting

(CNN) – In the wake of one of the country’s deadliest mass shootings in Connecticut and the ensuing national conversation over U.S. gun laws, political figures are putting pressure on Washington to take serious action to prevent such tragedies.

A gunman entered Sandy Hook Elementary School Friday morning and opened fire on teachers and students killing 20 children and six adults. Hours after the shooting, President Barack Obama wiped tears from his eye and said "our hearts are broken today,” calling for “meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this regardless of politics.”

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The White House said Obama remains committed to reinstating a federal ban on assault weapons, a position he took in the 2008 campaign but failed to press during his first term.

Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy said in an address broadcast live on cable news networks Saturday that, "There will be a time soon for a discussion of public policy issues surrounding yesterday's events but what's important right now is love, courage and compassion."

And Mark Kelly, husband of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords who was shot in Tucson last year, said the conversation on gun laws “can no longer wait.”

“My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims and the entire community of Newtown, CT,” Kelly said in a statement Friday after hearing about the tragedy. “This time our response must consist of more than regret, sorrow, and condolence. The children of Sandy Hook Elementary School and all victims of gun violence deserve leaders who have the courage to participate in a meaningful discussion about our gun laws – and how they can be reformed and better enforced to prevent gun violence and death in America."

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, also weighed in, promising to raise the issue when he returns to Washington.

“I think it’s time for the conversation to be renewed, for the dialogue to begin again and for the Senate to consider whether that kind of measure is necessary,” Blumenthal told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in Newtown on Saturday, adding that he has been in touch with the White House but was unsure of the president’s plans to visit Newtown.

U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, a Democrat from New York whose husband was one of six killed in the Long Island Railroad shooting in 1993, said she hopes the president will follow through to enact "meaningful action” to prevent gun violence.

“Leaders in Washington from both parties, and groups like the NRA, all say that now is not the time to talk about how gun safety laws can save lives in America. I agree, now is not the time to talk about gun laws – the time for that conversation was long before all those kids in Connecticut died today,” she said in a statement.

“We owe it to our children to work harder to reduce gun violence. The Second Amendment is the law of the land but it was never intended to allow murderers to take the lives of innocent kids. It’s our moral obligation as policymakers and as parents to do more to save lives.”

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an outspoken advocate for tougher gun laws, released a statement Friday calling for more than just words on gun-control legislation.

"With all the carnage from gun violence in our country, it's still almost impossible to believe that a mass shooting in a kindergarten class could happen," he said. "This is a national tragedy and it demands a national response. My deepest sympathies are with the families of all those affected, and my determination to stop this madness is stronger than ever.”

Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said “we are better than this,” pushing for action as a “catalyst to demand the sensible change in our nation that is long overdue.” Gross added that the group was "moved" by Obama's visible emotion during his remarks and are "committed to working with him to channel it into the change that is too long overdue."


Filed under: 2012 • Dan Malloy • Gun rights • Mark Kelly • Michael Bloomberg • President Obama • Richard Blumenthal
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. nothing new here

    As much as I dislike BIG government – and I do....
    I am shocked that s o m e people, like a certain so-called religious leader/Fox News commentator, is trying to blame secularism for this past weeks shooting.
    This shooter was mentally ill, period. Whether the guy went to church once a month, or once a week, is of no concern to me. And I doubt that it is of any concern to the families of those killed this past week.
    BTW, I did not mention that certain Fox News t.v. host's name for a reason – I am not going to lower myself to this person's standards.

    December 15, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  2. Abu

    4 diplomats wear killed in libya nd it became a campain issue during presdential debate nd now kids are beign gun down in schools but it is a loby issue not 2 control guns. hmm, guns are better than american lives, yes that is what it means. Stop sheding corocdile tears and act.

    December 15, 2012 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  3. HenryB

    And not a mention of the GOP regarding gun control. They are beholden to the NRA as they are to the tax nut. Shame on them, shame on them.

    December 15, 2012 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  4. Pete

    Ban assault rifles and have psychological testing as part of a more strengent rules for gun ownership..This shooter was a loner and had mild autisum so it would have shown up if he had bought them stopping the buying process...But he stole these legally bought weapons from his mom which if she had any sense would have locked either the guns up or kept the ammo locked up as well..Now the nations left with a massacre in Connecticut of 20 precious children and 6 dead heroes that tried to protect their pupils with their lives..My hearts go out to all families involved and now its up to the president and the NRA to impliment more strengent guidelines like I said before..Be adults NRA,your asses are in the crosshairs of many an adult in this country and as I'm also a licensed gun owner I implore you to act responsibly and get down to business with your reps before this happens again because it may be one of your own who's involved someday!!!

    December 15, 2012 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  5. Facts don't Lie

    I think that a lot of people really don't understand when the subject of "gun control" comes up. Some think that right away left wing bleeding hearts want the feds to come in and take away EVERYONE'S guns and deny all their 2nd Amend rights. I admit there might be some on the left that feel that way, just as some on the right feel that everybody should be able to have a firearm. I think many though are like me, I have no problem with firearm ownership and sadly in some cases they are needed for protection, but not everyone in or nation should be able to own or purchase a gun nor or all responsible enough to know how to use one. A person with a history of mental illness, a person with a history of violence, even believe it or not a terrorist can buy a gun at some gun shows through loopholes. And for what do people average citizens need with AK-47 rifles with clips? To hunt deer or rabbits? To skeet shoot? Or to do what they have been using them for kill people? Now the NRA will come out and use their number one weapon to control their base..FEAR!! They will say Obama is gonna take your guns away, guns don't kill people, people do...don't trample on my 2nd amendment rights.we have heard it all before. But as we vent right now some nutjob in our nation is planning to do this again and maybe on a larger scale and all of them are not mental cases per se some are just plain EVIL. This should not be a right/left issue..it should be a life issue.

    December 15, 2012 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  6. ThinkAgain: All of the GOP's policies are PROVEN FAILURES

    #1 Close the loophole that allows unlimited purchase of firearms at gun shows without a background check.

    #2 Ban assault weapons.

    #3 Don't give me this BS about how having more guns means we're safer; it just means the crazies can get them more easily.

    December 15, 2012 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  7. rs

    If this latest gun-related atrocity leads to more restrictive gun laws, the gun lobby and the kooks of the NRA have only themselves to blame. They have done a crappy job of policing themselves and their gun-toting membership, and they have not only refused to acknowledge the need for even basic gun controls but actually promote more guns and more powerful guns as a solution. In the simplest of terms, the mentally ill should not have access to weapons. If this makes buying a gun more like getting a driver's license, or a buying a house, or applying for work, so be it.

    Look, we ought to support the 2nd Amendment where practical. It is useful to remember however that firearms of the period took at least a minute to reload. 30 bullet clips, rapid fire weapons and assault rifles are NOT needed by anyone. Please don't try the "cars kill people too" BS. Guns have but one purpose: to kill. they are tools of death. Anyone denying that is foolish.
    The insanity must stop!

    December 15, 2012 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  8. Karen

    The Sarbanes-Oxley law came out of the Enron crisis.... we need Sarbanes-Oxley for gun control. At work, security is so tight on production data and IT changes. For data changes we have to be 'approvals'....why not make people check out their guns and get approval to do so? Keep guns at the police station and require people to 'check them out' when they go hunting, etc. Allow only guns than can fire up to a few bullets 'checked out' to peoples homes for personal safety. Create procedures for allowed use much like we IT and Financial folks have to do to modify & report data. Is data more important than people?

    December 15, 2012 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  9. Steve Hamilton

    Dan Gross is spot on. this should serve as a catalyst for sensible gun control. Why should true weapons of war like the AK 47 be sold to civilans?To me this problem is a repeat of the problem The country had when Senator Joseph McCarthy was terrorizing thousands of citizens, not killing them with guns, but destroying reputations. It took Dwight Eisenhower to confront McCarthy and force Congressional hearings. If President Obama would like to be known as a great president, he should force the hand of the IRA with a series of Senate Hearings that investigate whether there are illicit ties between gun manufacturers and the radical defenders of the Second Amendment. If NRA executives have to put up their own cash for criminal defense attorneys, they might decide to soften their position. In fact, if you research the Second Amendment's history, you will find that it was challenged early in the last century on the basis that the Amendment, as written, states that the right to bear arms is so that militias can be more readily and efficiently armed. Whatever court that ruled on that – and it was not the Supreme Court – set a precedent that now has assault rifles being sold willy-nilly through a patchwork of different state laws. Some senior elected official needs to figure out how to get this issue before today's Supreme Court.

    December 15, 2012 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  10. Patrick Kleppinger

    if we can build cars that will only start when the owners key is in close proximity. then we can certainly build guns with a similar feature. guns that will only fire if in the hands of the owner. the owner will hold the key imbedded in a ring, watch, or necklace. something small that can be worn by the owner. by doing this will take the stolen guns out of the hand of the ones who mean to do harm. My Heart goes out to thoes little kids. they made me cry today. Please lets make this measure law to stop stolen guns from being used to kill.

    December 15, 2012 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  11. RINO Bill

    Ban them all you want. If someone paid $1K for a then legal firearm, do you think he or she is just going to give it up because a bunch of liberal sheep got together and passed a law? Think again.

    December 15, 2012 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  12. Getoverit

    Yes!!!! Stricter gun laws so law abiding citizens can be murdered in their own homes because they weren't allowed to protect themselves! LMFAO!

    December 15, 2012 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  13. Don Stock

    In my opinion, there are several layered causes of the tradegy, but I think the main one waqs mentioned in the 60s and was rejected as crazy.That is the gun violence in movies and TV. Our children grow up watching it all and it seems normal. It seems nornal to pick up a gun. They are desensitized to viloence and a gun in hand is normal. Then, add some head problems, depression or rejection and a gun and the recipe is complete. The entertainment media and reality media need to eliminate gunplay in presentations.

    December 15, 2012 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  14. Larry L

    Do any of these postings get read by anybody willing to make a change? What's wrong with these improvements? Without giving us the same old tired N.R.A. dogma speak up with some logical comments!

    * Require a license (and license fee) for gun ownership that includes a comprehensive background check.
    * Limit semi-auto center-fire pistols to 9 rounds, center-fire all rifles and shotguns to five rounds, and rim-fire all rifles and pistols to ten rounds – grandfather those produced before the date of the law but buy-back existing weapons and magazines that violate the law at a considerable profit or tax exemption for the owner. Transfer them to law enforcement/military organizations where applicable.
    * Require a transfer report completed and returned by a FFL individual and 10 day waiting period for all private and commercial gun sales – recording the license numbers for seller and buyer.
    * Establish a "cradle-to-grave" data base for firearm ownership funded by gun license sales, a gun sales tax, and renewal fees.

    These laws would make firearm ownership more expensive and more difficult. But since we can't control "crazy" we can at least make if more difficult for and unbalanced individual to obtain a firearm. We can also slightly reduce the offensive capability of weapons and focus on legitimate uses of weapons by private citizens. None of the capability recommendations suggested would seriously hamper hunting, target practice, or personal defense. Those who say otherwise are delusional and do not want to work towards a solution to the problem.

    December 15, 2012 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  15. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The idea that everyone has to have a weapon just doesn't work for every person and every situation. Would you expect the principle to carry a weapon while he was working? Is a teacher to come to the classroom packing heat? I know that little kids can be annoying, but I don't see that worth carrying a gun.

    December 15, 2012 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  16. James

    Exactly the opposite. When we had more secular schools and classes with few guns things were pretty much fine (60's to 80's). Too many religious folks with lack of tolerance combined with guns for everyone makes things much less safe.

    December 15, 2012 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  17. casey

    Its just as hypocritical to say harsher gun laws would solve these problems. Mr. Huckabee is right, this is a heart problem. Just because someone has access to guns does not mean they will kill people. China had a story like this also this week, except it was with a knife. We have taken God from everything, and those who dont want to believe in Him use instances like these to question Him. Taking guns away is not the issue, the issue is a lack of conscience that many Americans havetoday.

    December 16, 2012 02:47 am at 2:47 am |
  18. mark watson

    Huckabee makes me sick. First God created the Heavens and the Earth, and he loves All of his children Good and Bad. These People have ascended back into the presence of GOD never to be hurt again, the Shooter have fallen to the depths of HELL never to be released again.

    December 16, 2012 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  19. Marie MD

    Let me start with haters of the nra (I hope that heston's rifle was shoved up where the sun don't shine in his casket) the President, with little support except the gun owners and the powerful nra that only represents 35% of the population of the US, has allowed guns in national parks.
    Nobody needs an assault rifle for anything. The mother in CT had guns to protect herself for what "was coming" in the US, whatever it is these people think is going to happen. She, like 9 our of 10 people with guns in their homes, are killed by their own guns.
    Unless we have missed it lapierre (or whatever his name is from the nra) has been pretty quiet. I guess guns afre not as much fun as he thinks they are now?

    December 16, 2012 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  20. the man with no shadow

    Nothing worse then a jesus pusher. People like this fail to see that jesus and god are not the only "living gods" plus ilif u have ever been to a catholic school you'll see their all just as bad. Bottom line religion is like wine, it's good in moderation but no one ever stops till their fall out drunk in this case however self rightous smug and flat out stupid

    December 16, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |