Gun Debate

Gun Debate

Lawmakers taking vastly different approaches to preventing gun violence

In the aftermath of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, on Dec. 14 lawmakers at all levels of government pledged actions to help prevent such a horrific act from happening again. But in the five weeks since Sandy Hook, those actions have veered in vastly different directions.

The issue is emotional — and complex. On one side are gun-control advocates who seek to restrict access to certain kinds of weapons and ammunition. On the other are gun-control opponents who say such restrictions would violate the 2nd Amendment and do little to save lives. But there are shadings between the two sides. Some opponents of gun control say that present laws are adequate and just need to be enforced; others have called for training teachers and others in self-defense and allowing them to carry concealed weapons. Still others, following the lead of the National Rifle Association, want armed guards at schools.

Gun-control advocates have different views. Some emphasize barring military-style assault weapons, which are not always easy to define, and restricting high-capacity ammunition clips, generally those which carry more than 10 rounds. Others emphasize extending background checks for all gun buyers. Presently, gun buyers who purchase their weapons at gun shows — an estimated 40 percent of the total — do not have to submit to background checks. (click to continue reading)

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