Gun Control Debate Heats Up
Gun owners, advocates and enthusiasts aren’t all on the same page when it comes to gun control. While many remain in staunch opposition to more laws, others say they’re open to some additional rules.
FOX News Radio’s Jessica Rosenthal talked with many of them.
Minutes after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, the phone calls started pouring in to victims of another mass killing, the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting. Pierce O’Farrill was shot three times in that theater. He said when it comes to what should be done following this shooting, he didn’t have any answers.
(O’Farrill) “Really that’s the only advice I could have is just turn to God right now.”
But the debate over gun laws had already begun. While some wrote social media posts that read “now’s not the time to talk about gun control”… One response read: If dead kids don’t get the conversation started, what will?
Alan Korwin has written books on gun laws. He says the answer lies in arming teachers. But what if the teacher is shot first and all that remains are unarmed kids?
(Korwin) “Well you would have other teachers respond if they heard gunfire. We trust teachers with our students shouldn’t teachers be trustworthy enough to bear arms?”
Mary Ellen is from Texas. This week she went to a gun range called the L.A. Gun Club in her new hometown, Los Angeles. She had the same thought about arming teachers.
(Mary Ellen) “But then, I don’t think guns in schools are the answer either.”
Gun enthusiasts are mixed. David Prince owns Eagle Gun Range in Lewisville, Texas and he says when people want to kill they’ll find a way. Gun or no gun.
(Prince) “Timothy McVeigh used fertilizer and a rent truck to kill more kids than those children were killed by the rifle.”
And many who don’t want more gun laws say Connecticut had some of the nation’s toughest laws, adding that they won’t necessarily result in change because there are already millions of weapons out there. But some shooting at the L.A. Gun Club this week like Jimmy, say they’re open to new rules, like a federal assault weapons ban.
(Jimmy) “I see it as a slow transition. The way this country has always been for guns it’s not something that can happen overnight. This is going to be years and years before we see real change and I think this is a small step towards that.”
He’s not alone. A survey of nearly 1,000 gun owners by Mayors Against Illegal Guns earlier this year, found that 74% of NRA members and 87% of gun owners would support background checks for all purchases. Most would also support letting states set eligibility requirements for people who want to carry concealed guns in public.
When it comes to proposals surrounding ammunition and magazine capacity, there’s a bit more sensitivity. California Senator Dianne Feinstein is proposing a law to stop the sale and production of magazines that hold more than ten rounds. Jason Hanson runs the Concealed Carry Academy in Utah.
(Hanson) “It’s pointless because you’re still gonna have guns you’re still gonna have magazines and they can insert multiple if a mass murderer wanted to go on a shooting spree.”
Regardless of where gun owners stand, they all agreed this is more about the potential actions of such a mass murderer.
(Gun Owner) “You can have the highest tech safety on guns, but if the people that use them aren’t responsible then there’s nothing you can do.”
(Gun Owner) “If you see something going wrong with your kids, then don’t let them have access to your guns. Keep the guns locked and that’s the only kind of gun control we need.”
And get them mental help, if needed. In that vein, Ted and Edmund of Marshall Security Training Academy in California want firearms training before a gun purchase as well as mental testing.
(Ted and Edmund) “I think they could go a little farther on the background checks.// Go to a psychologist, as far as a like doctors’ records, you know, see what the person is, see if there’s any mental problem? I would like that you know?// Yeah, there definitely needs to be some changes, yeah.”
Aside from additional state laws, federal laws are being considered too. President Obama said he expects concrete proposals from a special task force by January.
Jessica Rosenthal, FOX News Radio.