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Lawmakers Silent on Gun Control in Wake of Newtown Shootings, But the Public is Not

Thousands have taken to Facebook and other sites to decry what they say is a lack of gun control in this country and are urging lawmakers to take up the issue now. The NRA, meanwhile, has reportedly taken down its Facebook page.

 

The gun Adam Lanza used to kill 26 people Friday, including 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School, was a Bushmaster .223 rifle, a weapon favored by hunters and the military, published reports say, and apparently not a weapon intended for self defense. The gun, along with two other assault weapons that Lanza used, were registered to Lanza’s mother, the Hartford Courant reports.  

That a 20-year-old had access to those guns, and used them with such lethal consequences, is again spurring a debate on gun control, with some saying the Newtown shootings could provide the tipping point to the U.S adopting tougher gun controls.

And while pundits, media outlets and the general public worldwide are starting to weigh-in on the touchy subject of U.S. gun control in the wake of the shootings, lawmakers and gun lobbyists are not.

Officials for Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal today did not return a request for comment on the issue of whether the shootings in Newtown should renew debate on gun control.

On a Facebook posting Blumenthal offered his condolences to the victims’ families. Several of those responding to the posting urged him to push for stricter gun controls as well.

“Senator … what the vast majority of CT and US citizens want to see from you is ACTION. You should introduce strict, comprehensive, national gun control legislation and drive it in the new year,” one commenter said.

A spokesman for Fifth District Congressman and Senator-elect Chris Murphy, whose district includes Newtown, also did not return a request for comment on the mounting calls for gun control.

“With families & first responders again in Newtown today. There just aren't words to convey the grief felt here. Newtown is in our thoughts,” Murphy wrote yesterday on his Facebook page. The posting, and an earlier one from Murphy, saw an overwhelming response from commenters calling for gun control.

“Senator Elect Murphy: Enough is enough!!! We will be looking to you to play an active, leadership role in the Senate to begin to bring some sanity back to Gun Control laws in our Country,” one commenter posted.

The National Rifle Association’s website on Sunday afternoon remained silent on Friday’s rampage.  The NRA’s Facebook page, in addition, was removed sometime after the tragedy, the Daily News reports. However, before it was taken down hundreds had already posted to it including one who said: “…Beautiful little children gunned down because of the NRA fighting against every single sensible gun control and gun safety law. The NRA has blood on its hands.”

Besides the now unimaginable reputation as being the site of one of the worst school killings in our country’s history, Newtown is also home to the National Shooting Sports Foundation. The organization, located at 11 Mile Hill Road, posted a statement on its website Friday saying it doesn’t want to comment on the shootings that happened less than three miles away.

“Our hearts go out to the families of the victims of this horrible tragedy in our community,” the statement says. “Out of respect for the families, the community and the ongoing police investigation, it would be inappropriate to comment or participate in media requests at this time.” The group’s Facebook page is silent on the tragedy.

Elizabeth Esty, who takes office next month as the representative from the Fifth Congressional District, also posted a note of condolence on her Facebook page, a posting that also gave rise to a comments debate on gun control.

“We will be there to support our grieving neighbors then we will campaign for national gun control,” said one person who responded to Esty posting.

According to published reports, besides the Bushmaster rifle, Lanza also carried with him into the school two handguns, a Glock 9mm pistol and a SIG sauer handgun, weapons also favored by police and the military. All were registered to his mother, the Hartford Courant reports.

CuriousOrange December 17, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Newtown may be "Gun Central USA!" The NY Times reported that Newtown residents were "accustomed to the sound of gunfire" and some 50 gunfire complaints were recorded for the first half of this year ("In Town at East with Its Firearms," Dec. 17). Do any of these gun owners carry liability insurance?
Mark L. December 17, 2012 at 03:54 PM
Another statute written in a book will not deter a murdering madman. . .A gun in the hand of an innocent person certainly will. Let us all focus on why our elected officials decided that out children's safety was not really worth it. http://educationviews.org/obama-administration-let-school-security-funds-lapse/
RONALD M GOLDWYN December 17, 2012 at 04:06 PM
C Zac, At this time I have come to the same conclusion. Her guns should have been in a gun safe so that her mentally ill son had no access to them.
Gary J. M. McTrottes December 17, 2012 at 05:55 PM
The Constitution gives every citizen in this country the right to carry a weapon, concealed or not concealed. If all citizens were armed this incident probably would not have happened. If the school staff was armed, hopefully, they would have dropped the perp as he entered the building. Guns do not kill people, people kill people. Now the political types and the general public will cry about gun control for the next months.I can not carry a weapon in this town because the rules and regulations of the stratford police department violate my civil, constitional and rights of privacy and I cannot afford the alleged bribes. The state of Isreal allows people to carry their weapons where every they go. No reports of school shootings. Get the difference.
Slmnrc December 17, 2012 at 06:29 PM
in my opinion any law maker who is silent should be impeached - its serious mis-conduct to be silent on the issue - lets really see whoose representing us.... lets see what they think ..... not to comment - well thats just not right
Jen December 17, 2012 at 06:36 PM
What a cheap way out--to try to claim that "no one knows." Let's forget about carseats because we don't know if we're going to get into an accident today. Same logic, right? If there was ever anything worth TRYING to stop this would be it.
Robert McConnell December 17, 2012 at 06:50 PM
He could have purchased them on the internet or at any of the weekend gun shows around the country--no review of his mental condition needed. We surely should get these sources of gun supply shut down or force them to comply with the gun registration laws.
H. Ferguson December 17, 2012 at 07:02 PM
The rifle in .223 caliber is available with ammunition that is designed to fragment and not to penetrate through walls. Ironically it is actually a good choice for home defense because it ican be less dangerous for people outside the house in a home defense scenario.
The Watcher December 18, 2012 at 03:32 AM
People scream "gun control" but i havent heard one plan form them on how to do it. Obviously to say "get rid of all guns" is completely unrealistic. Im also curious if the ones asking for gun control have ever purchased a fire arm and know how "controlled" and in depth the process really is.
RONALD M GOLDWYN December 18, 2012 at 08:51 AM
Do you have a plan? I don't either, but I have some suggestions for a plan. Start by controlling ammunition with a license to buy at state stores. Provide a limit on the amount that can be bought each month. Tax it like cigarettes so as to price it out of common reach. Tag the gunpowder so that the end-user can be traced. Ban all military style weapons and magazines of a capacity greater than ten rounds. How is that for a suggestive start?
RONALD M GOLDWYN December 18, 2012 at 09:01 AM
The Watcher, I am a licensed hand gun owner who has taken the required courses and have registered all my guns with the local police. I bought my first gun in a Florida gun-shop and had it shipped to the Nassau County Police Dept. who held it until I produced a valid premises permit. I was not eligible for a carry permit back in 1962. later I bought a gun-safe with a finger combination to house my unloaded weapons.
. December 18, 2012 at 05:00 PM
The laws are tough as it is. If an automatic one year sentence with the illegal possession of a handgun and a felony conviction doesn't scare people away, what will? An automatic 10 year sentence? Life? Not to mention that most of these weapons are purchased out of state. Raise the age to own a rifle, or make yearly registration requirements on firearms like motor vehicles. Increase police activity in troubled neighborhoods. Yet all of these mock solutions will ultimately end up in higher taxes and more spending. But hey, let's just ban them outright, prosecute everyone that refuses to give up their weapons and spend even more money. We do not need to control guns, we need to control the people.
Grumpy Guy December 18, 2012 at 05:20 PM
This sure seems right on point. The mother bought those guns legally for herself. End of the story from that side. Her kid probably did exactly what C Zac said- got the weapons and killed her because she may have tried to stop him. But really, what's the solution? Do you have every person applying for a gun permit submit to a pysch eval for them AND their entire family? Doesnt seem possible to me. Obviously bringing firearms into a household where you have an apparently untreated person with mental issues is an extremely poor lapse of judgment but I dont know how you fix it.
Elizabeth December 19, 2012 at 12:19 PM
Guns dont kill people, people kill people and sadly if they are determined they will use other methods. People use cars as weapons at times, should we ban cars. People drown other people, should we ban water. I think to ban guns is to put a band aid on a gapping wound. There is no easy answer.
RONALD M GOLDWYN December 20, 2012 at 08:00 AM
I may have been the first on Patch to call for gun control even though I'm a legal gun owner. I just oppose the stand of the NRA. I strongly oppose the arming of teachers. Teachers are not employed as security officers and I would hope that it never becomes part of their job description. I never want our schools to become armed camps. I can imagine a 5'-2" female teacher being overpowered by larger students and grabbing her weapon. I can imagine a madman killing teachers first knowing that they may be armed. Now let me make a suggestion that may not be a 100% solution but it may help. My suggestion is to make all classroom doors have electronic locks that the administration can activate with just one switch being thrown. at the same time the door's window have a steel shade to prevent shooting through the door. That to me would be a shut-down condition for each classroom. At the same time the PA system would announce a code red condition to alert the teacher as to what is happening. This may work for the lower grade schools, but in the high schools students at many times of the day are using the public halls to get to their next classroom. Maybe a solution to this is a one minute time delay to allow students to find the nearest classroom. I would hope that the classroom doors be fire-rated steel to make entry much harder.
RONALD M GOLDWYN December 20, 2012 at 08:02 AM
CT GUN CONTROL 1) All gun owners must be licensed 2) All civilian guns must be stored in a gun-safe that is NOT opened by a key 3) All ammunition be tagged to trace to the end-user. 4) All weapons must be under the SOLE control of the licensed owner who will be criminally and civilly liable for its lose. 5) No civilian shall possess a military style weapon. 6) No weapon shall be capable of holding more than ten rounds in a magazine 7) No magazine capable of holding more than ten rounds shall be sold or possessed in the USA.. These are the bulk of my suggestions that fits the 2nd amendment rights of a legit. gun owner. What are your feelings on this subject
RONALD M GOLDWYN December 20, 2012 at 08:22 AM
We in the USA have enough guns to give one to every man,woman and child.What we and our President seek is not a gun ban (2nd amendment right) but gum control. I myself would prefer ammunition control "Guns don't kill People kill people" is not correct either "its the bullets that kill people. Of all the gun related deaths this year only 4% were committed by a mentally ill person (Dr Phil) So it is the sane person who is doing almost all of the killing. Right now the hot button issue is assault weapons and their magazine clips. It is not a solution but it is a start towards breaking the hold that the NRA has on our elected officials. Newtown may be the straw that broke the camel's back. Fellow citizens, don't sit on the fence and say how horrible you feel that what happened in Newtown should not be repeated. Write to YOUR elected officials and say you want action - Now. Then and only then will you have a clear conscience when you sleep.
Tax Man December 20, 2012 at 04:59 PM
While he or anyone could purchase a firearm on the Internet it cant be sent to you directly unless you are a Federally licensed Dealer (FFL). This myth seems to be posted all over the Internet yet not true unless the firearm was made prior to 1898 or a toy. The rifle or pistol is sent to the FFL in which then does the proper checks and logs the firearm. Gun shows vary by states and any Dealer at a show still has to perform the same checks. A Private to Private sale is possible in some states and not others as CT requires Pistol permits for any purchase of a pistol legally. They could require a transfer for all sales and then no firearm could be sold legally unless the person has a valid carry permit.
Bobby Caselnova December 20, 2012 at 11:33 PM
Ron, your plan to limit and tax ammo sales will have no effect at all on crime. It will only limit how much people can hunt and shoot targets, and make those activities less affordable. There are SO MANY people in this country who re-load their own ammo and sell it anyways. It would be impossible to regulate those folks. And licenses to buy ammo? That would probably make buying ammo on the black market easier than buying it legally, again only affecting sportsmen and hunters who care about following the law. Why would you want ammo prices to be out of common reach? You'd only be limiting how much people could practice at ranges and stay trained with their arms. If someone wants to kill someone, more expensive ammo will NOT stop them. As for high capacity magazine bans- a magazine is just a box with a spring in it, anybody can make a magazine of any capacity in their garage. I'll bet a quick google search would show dozens of pages with instructions on how to make a magazine. I've personally seen home made drum magazines that hold 100 rounds for an M1 Carbine made by law abiding people who target practice. And again, there's still the black market. What's to stop someone with machines in their garage to mass produce and illegally sell high capacity magazines? Making hi-cap mags illegal would certainly make that profitable. On your last point about banning "military style" firearms, again, make it more profitable for criminals and the demand will be filled. (continued)
Bobby Caselnova December 20, 2012 at 11:44 PM
At least when they're legal, FFL dealers do background checks on the people they sell to, and will use their discretion when selling to customers even if they pass the background checks. If we leave the business of selling weapons to criminals, they will sell to anyone who has the money, as they're not typically as honest as federally licensed firearms dealers. My father was a FFL dealer and I worked in that shop from the time I was very young. I know for a fact that none of the guns we sold, even the "military style" ones everyone seems to be so scared of, were used in crimes. If we didn't like someone's demeanor or got bad vibes from them, we didn't sell them anything even if they could pass a background check. FFL dealers tend to be very responsible guys and are very careful who they sell their guns to. The biggest fear FFL holders have is if the guns they sell will ever be used in a crime, and we all take steps to ensure this doesn't happen. All it takes is common sense and being sharp. We need to keep the business of selling guns in the hands of FFL holders and OUT of the hands of criminals and gangsters. One more point I must say, legislators have NO IDEA what an "assault weapon" is. An assault weapon, by military definition, is a select-fire weapon, meaning it can be changed from semi-auto to full-auto or burst fire with the flip of a switch. The laws regulate semi-auto look-alikes as "assault weapons", which is frankly dumb. You can still buy full-auto only (class 3).
MarkA82 December 23, 2012 at 11:14 PM
If that rifle is a "mowing-down machine", why do the police use them? Police officers have no legal obligation to protect us, their weapons are for defense of themselves.
MarkA82 December 23, 2012 at 11:16 PM
When buying a firearm on the internet it still gets shipped to a federally license gun dealer. Where the purchaser must still pass an FBI background check.
RONALD M GOLDWYN December 24, 2012 at 06:29 AM
Bobby, Much of what you say about ammo makes sense to me, But while there are many ways to skirt the law, most of the mass murders were carried out by those who were using weapons acquired from someone they knew. I don't believe they were locked away in a gun safe and the ammo kept apart in another locked container. Our country's citizens will still have plenty of weapons to play with without the assault rifle available to civilians. I wonder if the NRA officials would go up against a guy with an assault rifle while having a revolver pistol or a Glock semi-automatic hand gun. I have both, and I would not want to face a person who outguns me. This is what happened in LA when bank robber in bullet proof gear and assault rifle took on the police who had only their standard service revolver. Can you imagine security officers in every school on patrol with bullet-proof vests and an assault rifle. What a sight for the students. Seeing the guard they next think what happens if the guard is killed will I be next.? So far almost all mass killings were carried out by folks who no longer cared if the lived or died and we can't stop them with one security guard per building. I would prefer the students to be in locked classrooms with the hall being the only place for them to roam.
Bobby Caselnova December 26, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Ron, CT state law bans "assault weapons" currently. So we can see just how useful an assault ban would be federally. Right now, just because there is a scare of an assault ban, many many people, most of whom would never care to own one, are buying them because they might be banned soon. The law is already counter-productive, since there are so many more of these guns on the streets now than there would have ever been if there was no talk of an assault ban. What I think we need is more training and education for people who want to buy guns. Some people just don't understand that with rights come responsibilities. In my father's gun shop, I saw countless people who just turned 18 wanting to buy ar-15's and other rifles with a lot of firepower. I offered free safety courses to a lot of them, and the ones who took my safety course I had no problem selling firearms to. However, the majority of these 18 year-olds thought they knew it all from videos online and video games and refused my free safety course, those people I did not sell anything to. Right now you can buy a rifle with no training or education. I think it should be similar to driving a car; you should be trained and educated before you're trusted to be armed. I think with training and education, and in the education part we STRESS responsibility in the form of locking up guns, and ways to tell if someone you live with may be homicidal or suicidal, we can reduce accidents and guns getting in bad hands.
Bobby Caselnova December 26, 2012 at 09:33 PM
Also Ron, the reason I'm against an assault ban is because of what you've just said: I wouldn't want to go against a criminal with an AR with a pistol, I'd prefer to not be out-gunned. I strongly believe that any bans on any types of firearms wouldn't remove any from criminals or crazies, just as banning drugs didn't do anything to remove them from the streets of our country either. Law abiding citizens should be able to buy any type of firearm that they are trained and educated to use, and FFL dealers should be the ones performing background checks and judging who they will sell to, not black market arms dealers. I also would like to see schools NOT be considered "no gun" zones; I believe if a school employee already owns guns legally they should be allowed to carry concealed on school grounds, and parents who pick their children up at schools who legally own should be allowed to carry concealed on school grounds as well. Obviously banning guns on school grounds only applies to people willing to respect that law, and it hasn't been working so far. You're right about an armed guard with an assault rifle being highly visible in schools, we can both agree that's not a great idea. But I don't think any law could do anything to help prevent another shooting. These days, I think the only way to fight fire is with fire.
Richard Jablonski December 29, 2012 at 03:55 PM
Politicians at all levels just don't seem to get the message. From what I've read, most Republicans, most Democrats, and most Independents greatly want action to reduce violent crimes in the U.S. including rapid-fire gun control. If your representative isn't doing enough or isn't doing what you want on violence reduction and/or gun control, prepare to vote them out in next election, but let them know know now by letter or e-mail about your intent. If you believe in democracy, make your voice heard. Complaining and sitting on your duff won't get anything done and violent crime will continue. It is time to act..
Edward C January 02, 2013 at 01:05 PM
If you're being ironic then this is rather hilarious, otherwise...not so much.
Edward C January 02, 2013 at 01:08 PM
Regardless of whether it was used or not, one of the questions amidst this issue is exactly what justification there is for civilians owning assault weapons. Are there really such prominent threats to the home that a handgun or shotgun wouldn't be a viable option should there be a threat of danger.
Edward C January 02, 2013 at 01:12 PM
There may be no easy answer of perfect solution, but should that mean that there shouldn't be avenues explored to consider changes, to envision how efforts could be made to reduce the likelihood of such events?
Edward C January 02, 2013 at 01:16 PM
Have you, in your life had first hand experience with an event in which having a firearm contributed greatly to your safety and solved a problem?

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