As President Obama prepares to meet in Newtown, CT, with the families of the massacre victims, he is being inserted into the center of a renewed debate on the need for gun control in the U.S.
It is the primary topic of the Sunday morning talk shows and it is the subject of conversation all over Washington and across the country. Does the nation have the will to push for a ban on assault weapons? Will a ban on assault weapons make a difference? Why is this nation so incapable of having a real conversation on these mass killing machines?
Attention has been focused on the statements made by Obama during his tearful new conference on Thursday, after he received word that 20 children—all 6- and 7-year-olds—and seven adults had been killed.
“As a country, we have been through this too many times,” he said at the White House. “Whether it’s an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago—these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children. And we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.”
White House Press Sec. Jay Carney said the president remains committed to reinstating the assault weapons ban, but some activists said that wasn’t good enough.
Rev. Michael McBride, an activist with the organizing group PICO, says the nation needs to reconsider its lax gun laws. McBride called on the president to use his State of the Union address this year to address the issue.
“We need leadership, and we need action,” says McBride. “That will be a moment where all of us as a country… we’ll all be listening. It will be a moment where Congress can stand up together in solidarity and say that we have a plan.”
Rep. John Larson, Democrat from Connecticut, called on his colleagues in Congress to have the courage to take action on gun control.
“Not to act is to be complicit,” Larson said on MSNBC. “We have a responsibility to take action.”
Even Rupert Murdoch, owner of conservative Fox News, called on Obama to take action.
President Obama Makes a Statement on the Shooting in Newtown, Connecticut
“Nice words from POTUS on shooting tragedy, but how about some bold leadership action?” he said in a tweet.
In an earlier tweet, Murdoch referred to the tougher gun control laws enacted in his native Australia after a mass killing in 1996: “When will politicians find courage to ban automatic weapons? As in Oz after similar tragedy.”
But on Fox News Sunday, Republican Rep. Louis Gohmert of Texas told host Chris Wallace that the solution to gun crime is more guns. Gohmert claimed the worst massacres in recent U.S. history happened in places guns were banned, so the deaths in Newtown may not have happened if Dawn Hochsprung, principal at Sandy Hook Elementary School, had been armed.
“Chris, I wish to God she had had an M4 in her office,” he said.
Every time laws were loosened to allow “concealed carry” of guns, crime went down, Gohmert claimed.
The details of the shooting that are emerging make it even more painful and outrageous, hearing the tales of teachers who lost their lives while trying to divert Lanza from their youngsters—such as teacher Victoria Soto, who hid her first-graders in closets and cabinets in the classroom and then told Lanza they had gone down the hall. Lanza killed her—and killed six of her students who tragically tried to escape after hearing the conversation.