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After Shootings, Are Stricter Gun Laws Needed?

The deaths of 19 in Colorado and Wisconsin have sparked a national firearm debate that has reemerged several times in recent years. We want to know which side you're on and why.

Two recent mass shootings have again sparked the national debate on what type of guns and ammunition should be legal for civilians, and what steps they must follow to obtain such weapons.

The 12 dead and 58 injured in the July 20 Colorado movie theater massacre, and the seven dead and three injured in Sunday’s , have drawn responses from both sides of the conversation.

Authorities said the alleged Colorado shooter, 24-year-old James Holmes, purchased his arsenal legally. The Springfield 9mm semi-automatic handgun bought by alleged Wisconsin shooter Wade Michael Page, 40, was also a legal purchase, Reuters reports.

Proponents argue guns are defensive tools and it’s the people, not the weapons, that kill. They also point to the Second Amendment, which by its number shows the importance the U.S. founders placed on it. 

But the law was written before semi- and fully automatic firearms, advocates of gun control say. And, as proven by recent mass shootings, the weapons are falling into the wrong hands, they argue.

Larry Bodine, editor in chief of Lawyers.com, called the Colorado and Wisconsin shootings “the latest in a long history of bloodbaths.”

“There have been 50 U.S. rampage killings involving firearms in the last 25 years, and 82 percent involved legally obtained firearms,” he wrote on the Huffington Post. "It's easy to buy a gun today, and 43 states have some form of open carry law, thanks to legislation and the recent Supreme Court decisions."

After the Colorado shooting, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg called on President Obama and his presumed GOP opponent, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, to propose stricter gun control laws on CBS's Face the Nation.

“This really is an enormous problem for the country, and it's up to these two presidential candidates," Bloomberg said. "They want to lead this country, and they've said things before that they're in favor of banning things like assault weapons. Where are they now and why don't they stand up?"

Obama spokesman Jay Carney told the New York Times that the president’s focus is to “protect Second Amendment rights.”

But, he added, steps must be taken to "ensure that we are not allowing weapons into the hands of individuals who should not, by existing law, obtain those weapons."

Following the Colorado shooting, Romney told CNBC that “the Second Amendment is the right course to preserve and defend and don’t believe that new laws are going to make a difference in this type of tragedy.”

Even if some in Congress wanted legislation that would further gun control, there wouldn’t be enough support from Republicans and some Democrats, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said.

"The votes aren't there for gun control," she told the Huffington Post. "We certainly aren't going to be able to do it in this Congress, and I don't know that we would be able to do it in a Democratic Congress because it takes a lot of votes to go down that path."

Other mass shootings in recent years that have brought about similar debates over gun ownership include:

  • Two teenagers—Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold—killed 12 schoolmates, one teacher and themselves in 1999 in Columbine, Colorado.
  • Virginia Tech University student Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 and wounded 15 on the campus in 2007 before taking his own life. It’s the deadliest mass shooting of its kind in the country.
  • An Army psychologist, Maj. Nidal Hasan, opened fire in 2009 at Fort Hood in Texas, killing 13 soldiers and wounding more than 40.
  • U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was seriously hurt in 2011 by a gunshot wound to the head as Jared Lee Loughner opened fired outside a grocery store in Tucson, Arizona. Six were killed and 13 total were hurt.

Which side of the debate are you on and why? Does the U.S. need stricter gun laws? Tell us in the comments.

Gatewood2002 August 11, 2012 at 01:59 AM
I just wish that there were drug laws in affect so that the drug problem in America would go away. Even devote a Federal Agency to help local and state agencies enforce such laws. I worry more about my children and grandchildren killing themselves by drug abuse more than wounds from gunshots. POINT MADE!
S Bailey August 11, 2012 at 03:57 AM
Guess the Gubmint should ban all motor vehicles....cause so many more people are killed by automobile, truck & motorcycle accidents than any gun violence in this country. BTW, why is the Democrat Party against the 2nd Amendment, when they endorsed the Iraq Constitution allowing every household to have an AK-47 for protection ???
Melinda Paris August 11, 2012 at 04:41 AM
BStein. I've probably seen more of the world than you even know about-your cynical remark wasn't warranted or needed, telling me I have fallen off a bike without a helmet? So, Mr. jokester why so rude, who took your candy away today to make you write something so hateful and personal to me? Did you have razor blades for breakfast is that why you were so rude? OR is it the fact that maybe YOU like big Gov't running your life and I don't? What is it that would make YOU talk to me so rudely, I had not attacked you, so what is up with your very rude and personal remark to me? Maybe you are not the sharpest knife in the drawer either, buster. SO go ahead and gouge at me some more, I can take it, I have my big girl drawers on! Give your best shot...come one, I've been around your kind before, you can "TRY" to intimidate, belittle or whatever else you can throw at me, it will bounce off me like Turtle wax on a old car. Have a good weekend, maybe something good will come your way to make you nice.
Melinda Paris August 11, 2012 at 04:45 AM
AND...btw. I didn't get my information off the TV, I don't watch the idiot box, someone I know mentioned that about George Soros, and even though that remark "may" be incorrect, HE DOES have some interest in some of our gun companies in this country, irregardless of what you say and think, and another word for liberals is "progressive" and I believe He owns that insurance company too...Progressive, Liberals, whatever you want to call the tree huggers, and for your information, I have been at the hospital for the last five of six weeks with a very ill and sweet Father, and He passed away last week, and the last thing I need this week is some STRANGER passing judgement on me for no reason and I watched basically no TV at the hospital, as He struggled to live and got on his nerves, so there you go Mr. Know it all, as you can see you don't know much about nothing and absolutely NOTHING about me, try being nice you might like it. If you don't agree with someone that's fine, but no reason to be a jerk!
S Bailey August 11, 2012 at 05:23 AM
George Soros has said that the United States of America is the main problem & impediment against One World Government. He is anti-gun, anti-Constitution, anti-Freedom, anti-Capitalist....yet he's here in America & made part of his fortune on the backs of the American People. Yes, he was a founder of the Progressive Ins. Co. (think Flo)....but it is alleged he sold his shares in the company a few years ago. I'm not quite sure how true that is. I'm sorry that some folks can't control their misanthropic judgements on others.

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