Dec 17 2012
The shooting deaths of 20 children between the ages of 6 and 7, and 7 women on Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, has shocked the nation. The shooter, an apparently developmentally disabled 20 year old by the name of Adam Lanza, turned his gun on himself after the rampage. President Obama gave a tearful speech hours after the incident, followed by another speech last night at a vigil saying “no single law – no set of laws – can eliminate evil from the world.” However, he added, that this should “not be an excuse for inaction.”
The incident is the second worst shooting incident in US history, after the 2007 Virginia Tech campus shooting which resulted in 32 deaths. The shooter, Adam Lanza was known to have been carrying enough heavy-duty ammunition to potentially kill everyone on the school grounds.
Shooting incidents have become so commonplace in the US now – one of the easiest countries in the world to buy a gun – that in just the days before and after the Newtown incident alone, there were multiple reports of fatal shootings in other parts of the country. A man shot and killed a woman and then himself on Friday at a hotel in Las Vegas. One person was shot and three were injured at an Alabama Hospital on Saturday. Two people were wounded inside a movie theater in San Antonio, Texas on Sunday. Two police officers were fatally shot in Topeka, Kansas also yesterday. And, on the same day as the Connecticut tragedy, police arrested an 18 year old suspected of planning to carry out a similar school shooting in Oklahoma. The young man had recently bought a .45 caliber gun.
As happens often, the debates over gun control have once more surfaced in the wake of the Newtown shooting. But lawmakers around the country are actually loosening remaining restrictions on guns. The New York Times reported that on Friday, the same day as the shooting, Michigan passed a law allowing concealed guns to be legally carried on school grounds. Also on Friday Ohio passed a law allowing guns in cars at the Statehouse garage, while an Illinois law banning concealed weapons was struck down by a federal appeals court.
GUEST: Lisa Graves, Executive director of PR Watch and former deputy assistant general on gun policy at the US Department of Justice