Elementary School Shooting Re-ignites Debate on Guns - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Elementary School Shooting Re-ignites Debate on Guns

Posted: Updated: Dec 16, 2012 08:38 PM CST

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WXOW) – Friday's shooting at a Connecticut elementary school has reignited the debate on gun control.

The 20-year old gunman believed to be responsible for the killings of his mother, six school workers and 20 first grade students in Newtown, Conn., was found deceased at the scene and in possession of three firearms – all of which were legally purchased and registered to his now-deceased mother.

"We have been through this before, too many times," said outgoing Sen. Joe Lieberman (R, Conn.).

"Columbine, Tucson, Arizona with Gabby Giffords, at Aurora, in the movie theater, at Virginia Tech," Lieberman said in reference to several mass shootings that have occurred since the shooting at a Columbine, Colo. school in 1999.

"I think we need a national commission on mass violence," Lieberman told Fox News Sunday's Chris Wallace.

In addition to the shooting at Columbine, shootings at Virginia Tech University (2007, 32 dead), Fort Hood, Texas (2009, 12 dead) and Tucson, Ariz. (2011, 6 dead) have drawn extensive national attention in recent years.

In 2012, shootings in Aurora, Colo. (12 dead), Oak Creek, Wis. (7 dead), Brookfield, Wis. (4 dead) and Minneapolis, Minn. (5 dead) have also prompted renewed debate about the government's right to regulate the constitutional right to guns that courts have ruled the Second Amendment guarantees.

According to news magazine Mother Jones, roughly 75% of the 142 weapons used in mass shootings in the last three decades were legally purchased.

That statistic was also recently cited in a blog post by The Washington Post's Ezra Klein, and such numbers have some lawmakers calling for stricter gun regulations.

"The president campaigned back in 2008 on a bill that would prohibit assault weapons," New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press.

"We've got to really question whether military style weapons with big magazines belong in the streets of America in this day and age," said Bloomberg, an Independent who endorsed President Barack Obama in this year's election.

"Nobody questions the Second Amendment's right to bear arms. But I don't think the founding fathers had the idea that every man, woman, and child could carry an assault weapon, and I think the President through his leadership could get a bill like that through Congress," he said.

"Is this the way we want America to go?" added Sen. Diane Feinstein (D, Calif.) also on Meet the Press, "The rights of the few overriding the safety of the many? I don't think so."

Feinstein said Sunday she will introduce a bill simultaneously in the U.S. Senate and House at the beginning of next year's legislative session which would effectively ban all assault rifles and magazines and/or ammunition cartridges capable of carrying more than 10 bullets.

A similar assault weapons ban was enacted in 1994 and expired in 2004.

But polling by Gallup shows that might not be what Americans want.

Its polls show support for greater gun regulation has declined in the last 12 years, with roughly 43% of Americans currently supporting stricter gun laws.

That's down from 78% in 1990.

Gallup polling also indicates a decline in legal gun ownership, with roughly 35 percent of households recently reporting owning firearms as of 2012.

That number was closer to 50% just 12 years ago, thus providing some lawmakers with a strong case to advocate for more guns, not fewer.  

"Every killing of at least three people in recent history has been in a place where guns were prohibited," said U.S. Congressman Louie Gohmert (R, Texas). "The gunmen choose these places. They know no one there will be armed."

"Hearing the heroic stories of (Sandy Hook) Principal Dawn Hochsprung lunging in front of the gunman, trying to protect her students," Gohmert told Fox News's Chris Wallace Sunday. "I wish to god she'd had an M4 in her office locked up."

"So when she hears gunfire she pulls it out and she didn't have to lunge heroically with nothing in her hands," Gohmert added, visibly emotional.

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