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Tragedy of Newtown, CT. rallies momentum for gun control debate

By Can Tran     Dec 15, 2012 in Politics
Washington - While US President Barack Obama said that now isn't the time to talk about gun control, due to what happened in Newtown, CT, other people feel differently. Now, the gun control issue is being forced back onto the debate table.

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The massacre that took the lives of many young elementary school children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut has forcibly brought up the issue of gun-rights and gun-control. This is the second largest school shooting in the United States. Still at number one is the 2007 Virginia Tech Massacre at the hands of Korean college student Cho Seung-hui. However, the circumstances of Sandy Hook have reinforced the hot volatile topic of gun control, gun rights, and gun regulations. This is due to most of the victims at Sandy Hook being children ranging from 5 to 10 years old. As a result, the National Rifle Association (NRA) is taking a lot of fire from politicians, gun-control advocates, and other people outraged at what happened in Newtown.
Currently, the NRA is silent at the moment. It is unknown when the NRA will respond to the blame. Most likely, the NRA is going to fire back and reject the blame. But, how will the NRA go about it?
Democratic House Representative Jerry Nadler, in a press release, said that “NOW is the time” to address the issue. Nadler said that this cannot be acceptable to think of this as an everyday part of American life. He asked how many more incidents like Columbine in 1999 and the just recent Newtown must the American people go through before the issue is addressed. He asked everybody to act on the outrage of the tragedy.
In an interview with Capital New York, Nadler said that it is time to call out the NRA as people that enable mass murder let alone the mass murder of children. Furthermore, Nadler called on to embarrass people who “side with mass murderers.” Nadler said this question: “Who do you stand with? The parents and children of this country or the potential mass murderers?”
Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney of NY, when being interviewed by Eliot Spitzer, said that let the voters decide. She addressed how powerful the gun lobby was.
In an article on The Nation, by Lee Fang, it goes a bit more in-depth of the NRA. It asks if the group represents the individual gun owners or the gun manufacturers. Fang writes about how the group is made of of a few legal entities with their specific functions. He also explains that the group has gotten more power thanks to the Citizens United court ruling in which “corporations are people too.” One thing that Fang points out is that Bushmaster Firearms, which manufactures the assault rifle allegedly used by Lanza (the shooter), is one of the donors that received a special thanks from the NRA.
New York Times, in a blog entry, gives the prediction that it will be difficult for pro-gun advocates to respond to gun control. This is due to the victims being children in the shootings and the NRA not being effective in the 2012 US Election cycle. In this respect, it will be difficult for the NRA to fire back at accusations.
There is belief that if there is an organization that is considered a moderate version of the NRA, it could steal members from the group. Also, in that respect, that organization could get membership from gun-owners that are not part of the NRA. In an post on New America Media, people took to social media to express how they felt. One person brought up the recent incident in China where 22 children were stabbed. It highlighted the difference between using a knife and a gun. Several people talked about how guns provide a unique dynamic for psychos and sadists to carry out such killings.
Washington Post, in a blog, posts a list of twelve facts surrounding guns and mass shootings. At the top, it said that shooting sprees are not rare in the United States. It cites information gathered by the news site Mother Jones. According to the information, at least 61 mass murders have been carried out since 1981 and in most cases the firearms were obtained through legal means.
Since 2007, according to the list of facts, the US had five deadly shootings. However, it doesn't count what happened at Sandy Hook.
Also on the list is that states with stricter gun control laws have fewer gun-related deaths.
Due to the severity of Sandy Hook, the gun control issue has been dragged to the debate table whether you like it or not. MSNBC was proactive in launching one of the first post-Sandy Hook gun control conversations. Sooner or later, United States President Barack Obama is going to have to address the issue whether he wants to or not. Currently, Obama is in a battle against GOP House Speaker John Boehner in regards to the fiscal cliff.
When addressing the shooting, Obama's administration said that today wasn't the day to talk about or debate gun control. However, many others see and feel differently about it. Former Democratic New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, in a blog post on Slate, is saying now is the time to push Obama on the issue.
The Hill reports of an online petition calling upon Obama to produce legislation to limit access to guns. So far, after one hour since inception, the amount of signatures is over 25K. Since it's past the 25,000 mark, the White House should be giving an official response to it soon. However, that's the only petition that's being passed around. MSN Now reports on three other petitions. The first petition calls upon Congress to immediately address the issue, the second position calls for a specific time and place to address the issue, and the third one calls forth a national conservation on “sensible gun control.”
In response, Los Angeles United increased security patrols around its campuses to alleviate people's fears and concerns.
Stephen Barton, one of the survivors of the Aurora shooting, said that now is the time to act on gun control.
While the shooting took place in Connecticut, people rallied across Washington DC. The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence rallied in front of the White House. The Connecticut Society held a vigil at the Washington Monument. A candlelit vigil was held at George Washington University. In regards to the White House, demonstrators at the front called for tighter gun laws. They told Obama to lead them as the country is with him.
Andy Pelosi, president of Gun Free Kids, told a crowd that today was the day that Americans rise up to say enough is enough.
At the vigil organized by the Connecticut Society of Washington DC, Representative Rosa DeLauro and former Senator Christoper Dodd were amongst those in attendance.
Democratic Rep. Carolyn McCarthy of New York was very vocal when it came to the gun control issue in the wake of Newtown, Connecticut. McCarthy said that while now isn't the time to talk about gun control, she said it should have been talked about years ago. She cited the shooting in Tucson, Arizona during January 2011 where many including then-Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona were shot. Giffords survived, there were others that did not including a young child. This is a sensitive subject to McCarthy as her husband was killed and her son was injured back in 1993 during a mass shooting on the Long Island Rail Road.
McCarthy gave a stern warning: “the gloves were off.” She warned that if Obama doesn't act on the issue, then she would embarrass everybody.
Rupert Murdoch, CEO of chairman of News Corp which owns Fox News, called forth a ban on automatic weapons. He said the same thing during the shooting in Aurora, Colorado. However, the Politico article points out that Fox News contributors objected calls for gun control.
Piers Morgan, who has his own talk show on CNN, called forth for Obama to address the issue.
NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg criticized Obama's “meaningful action” comment. Bloomberg said Obama needs to send a bill to Congress to fix the problem and then quickly make an executive order. Going back to McCarthy, she plans to build a large-scale public campaign against assault weapons. With that, she plans to seek help from people such as Mayor Bloomberg to further build momentum.
There is strong believe that what happened in Newtown will spark a serious debate about gun control.
Mike Huckabee, a former GOP Governor of Arkansas and current Fox News host, was against the notion of gun-control laws. Instead, he blamed the school shooting on a “lack of God” in the school system. As a result, many are taking to Facebook and condemning Huckabee's comments about God and the Sandy Hook massacre.
Think Progress has compiled a time line in regards to mass shootings in the United States since the Columbine Massacre in 1999. Notable events are the VT and Northern Illinois University shootings took place respectively in 2007 and 2008.
While there is the push for Obama and Congress to address, it is unknown if or when they will address it. This forces Obama into another political battle. Currently, Obama is engaged in a battle against Republicans in regards to the “fiscal cliff battle.” With what happened in Newtown, it looks inevitable that gun control will be a major debate issue come the 2014 US Election cycle.
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