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President Obama Photo: AP
President Obama Photo: AP
 
 

Gun control takes center stage in wake of Newtown massacre

All eyes are on President Obama as demands to ban assault rifles grow louder. NYC mayor: Guns must be Obama's 'number one agenda'

Yitzhak Benhorin
Published: 12.16.12, 20:49 / Israel News

CONNECTICUT – As Americans continue to come to grips with the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, the calls demanding tighter gun control in the United States are growing louder, as are calls by gun owners not to infringe on the rights of law-abiding citizens because of the acts of a madman.

 

In a CNN interview, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy said: "These are assault weapons. You don't hunt deer with these things."  

 

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President Barak Obama hinted to the fact that the issue of gun control will become a priority for him, when he commented on the shooting Friday, saying that "meaningful action" is needed "regardless of politics."

 

Obama will attend a vigil in Newtown, later on Sunday.

 

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Adam Lanza, 20, whose murderous spree left 26 people dead, used two 9mm handguns, a Glock and a Sig Sauer – models commonly used by police – as well as a military-style 223 caliber M4 carbine rifle. All three firearms belonged to his mother, Nancy, who was her son's first victim.

 

"The mother purchased (the guns). And they have the patina of legal purchases. I mean, there's always a question: Was she purchasing them for herself? If she was purchasing them for another individual, her son, then there's a question about that purchase," Malloy told CNN.

 

Speaking of Adam Lanza, he added: "We know that he was a troubled individual, and that he went to school with a number of weapons, which he used on his victims and ultimately used on himself... I'm sure we'll come to know more about him and his problems and his family."

 

According to information currently available, Nancy Lanza was a gun enthusiast, who would occasionally take her sons to the shooting range for target practice.

 

Political backlash

Democratic legislatures have begun calling for a fundamental change in gun control laws, a move sure to raise opposition from the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the heavily funded pro-gun lobby. Since 1994, lawmakers have not passed any legislation on the matter, and in fact allowed a ban on assault weapons to expire in 2004.

 

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D) of California said that when the Senate reconvenes she will revive her plan to ban assault weapons, which are considered useless for hunting or self-defense.

 

Malloy, also a Democrat, lamented the fact that lawmakers allowed the ban on semiautomatics to expire. "Connecticut has a pretty aggressive law – probably of the 50 states I think we're ranked 4th most aggressive in trying to limit access to these kinds of weapons," he said.  

 

 

Senator Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut independent, told "Fox News Sunday" that a national commission should be formed to scrutinize the nation's gun laws, mental health system and the role that violent video games and movies might play in shootings.

 

One of those leading the gun control choir is New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg who beseeched Obama to make gun control reform "number one" on his agenda. 

 


The victims (Photos: News agencies)

 

"This should be his number one agenda. He’s the president of the United States, and if he does nothing during his second term, something like 48,000 Americans will be killed with illegal guns,” Bloomberg said, adding: "That is roughly the number of Americans killed in the whole Vietnam war."

 

Bloomberg then called on the president to increase gun law enforcement and present new legislation, even if it might not succeed in passing.

 

"Nobody questions the second amendment’s right to bear arms," Bloomberg continued, "But I don’t think the founding fathers had the idea that every man, woman, and child could carry an assault weapon."

 

Former White House chief of staff and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined both in supporting the victims and calling on Congress to reinstate the federal assault weapons ban. "It's time for Congress to have a vote of conscience," Emanuel said.

 

Follwoing massacres at schools, universities, malls and the streets, Some in the US believe the Newtown massacre will shift the balance from those in favor of the "right to bear arms" to those in favor of gun control.

 

The Washington Post argues that the odds in favor of such a scenario grow in light of the horrific nature of the massacre, the renewed mandate of the reelected president and the weakening status of the NRA. The paper reiterated the fact that such an action could only be the result of presidential leadership.

 

 

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