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As America Comes To Grips With The Connecticut School Shooting, The Debate Over Gun Control Begins B
December 17, 2012
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Amid the grief and the sadness over the mass school shooting in Connecticut, America is faced yet again with the inevitable debate over gun control.

For much of the world, the answer seems obvious: bring in tough gun laws, make guns a lot tougher to get, and don't allow people to own high powered weapons.

Some would say go even further - get rid of guns altogether, an outright ban, make 'em illegal.

But the United States is different.

The relationship with guns, the belief in guns, the politics around guns - it's unlike virtually every developed country in the world.

Which is not to say everyone in America is a gun-lover. Far from it. Many Americans want real gun control. Many don't.

And of the ones who don't, the vast majority would never condone the kind of mass shootings that have become part of American life.

They will, however, fight for their constitutional right to own guns, carry guns and use guns. Like it is with politics in general, America is a nation divided.

Here's a round-up of what's being said both in America and around the world about guns in the wake of the Connecticut school shooting.

Neil Macdonald of The National wrote a sharp, direct and thought-provoking piece on cbc.ca entitled 'Death and delusion in a nation of assault rifles'.

Here's a couple excerpts:

"Yet another "national discussion" about guns is under way here, and it's so anti-rational, so politically cowardly, so... unbearably stupid that you have to wonder how a nation that has enlightened the world in so many other ways could wallow in this kind of delusion."

"What's taken hold here in America is lunacy. There have been 16 mass shootings in the U.S. just this year alone, leaving 88 people dead. It's the new normal. Some of the killers wore body armour and fired weapons that scare Marines."

Charlie Brooker of The Guardian has a piece entitled 'The Newtown Shooting Makes Us Feel Helpless. We Don't Need To Be',

Brooker writes "Try as I might, I can't think of a better way to prevent massacres than reducing the number of guns in circulation."

"All I know is that 20 children were shot at close range with an assault rifle, and that only a lunatic nation wouldn't try everything it could think of to make that less likely to happen again."

Of course, there are two sides to every coin and different opinions.

In this clip, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee - now a Fox News contributor - says gun control won't stop this kind of thing unless "you change people's hearts."

He also suggests the shooting happened because America has "removed God from our schools."

In this piece, David Callaway - the Editor-in-Chief of USA Today - calls on America's leaders to bring in gun control.

Callaway writes "We cling to our legal rights to guns as a matter of pride in our heritage, as a point of being able to protect ourselves as we have through our history. But we don't see the collective price of our stubbornness, either in lost lives or in how the rest of the world perceives us."

The Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf makes the argument that America has already had a conversation about guns for years and the pro-side won.

"...a gun debate can only be productive in a country as pro-gun as this one when the folks on either side at least understand the deeply held disagreements at issue.

So far, too many newly vocal reformers are operating under the conceit that if only America "finally" had a conversation about gun violence, everyone would immediately see the wisdom of the position reformers have advocated all along."

TIME magazine has a story about a pro-gun organization based in Connecticut called 'The National Shooting Sports Foundation'.

It points out that "The NSSF has not commented on the shooting literally just down the road from its headquarters, other than a small post on their website that reads:

"Our hearts go out to the families of the victims of this horrible tragedy in our community.

"Out of respect for the families, the community and the ongoing police investigation, it would be inappropriate to comment or participate in media requests at this time."

In this clip on Fox News, Chris Wallace interviews Democrat Senator Dick Durbin and Republican Senator Louie Gohmert.

Gohmert is against gun control. He believes more Americans should be carrying guns, to defend themselves. Check it out around 6:45.

The BBC explores whether or not the Connecticut shooting will have any impact on America's gun laws. It points out some staggering statistics including...

America is "a country with an estimated 300 million guns" which breaks down to about "88.8 firearms for every 100 Americans".

And Mother Jones has put together a 'A Guide To Mass Shootings In America' - pointing out other grim statistics.

MJ says that over the past 30 years, "there have been at least 62 mass murders carried out with firearms across the country". And it says "most of the killers got their guns legally."

The Washington Post has a piece called 'Gun Control Lessons From Lyndon Johnson' by Joseph A. Califano Jr.

Califano Jr. was President Johnson's top assistant for domestic policy in the 1960s, when John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. were assasinated.

He writes "The timely lesson for Obama, drawn from the experience of Lyndon B. Johnson - the last president to aggressively fight for comprehensive gun control - is this...

Demand action on comprehensive gun control immediately from this Congress or lose the opportunity during your presidency."

There's also this op-ed piece for the New York Times by Charles M. Blow, who argues that Americans who want tougher gun laws must stand up and be heard.

He writes "Even if you believe, as most Americans do, that the Second Amendment grants Americans the right to bear arms, one must also acknowledge the right of other Americans to not bear arms and be safe.

Where are the voices for those who choose not to -- or are not old enough to -- own guns? Are the gunless to have no advocate? Will our politicians forever cower before the gun lobby?"

MSNBC spoke with Democrat Senator Joe Manchin, who is a conservative and is backed by the NRA (National Rifle Association).

He's the most prominent pro-gun official to call for action saying...

"Anybody that's a proud gun owner, a proud member of the NRA, they're also proud parents, they're proud grandparents. They understand this has changed where we go from here."

And the National Journal has a post about what American leaders are officials are saying including New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg who said...

"Calling for 'meaningful action' is not enough. We need immediate action. We have heard all the rhetoric before. What we have not seen is leadership - not from the White House and not from Congress. That must end today."

And this from the NRA (National Rifle Association) - "Until the facts are thoroughly known, NRA will not have any comment."

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