By Louis René Beres |
In the wake of the tragic massacre in Newtown, Conn. which killed 20 children and eight adults (including the shooter himself), many are calling for the United State to examine its gun control regulations. President Obama, who has seen by his count four large-scale shootings in his first term as president, suggested that his administration would take action towards more gun control. In his speech at a vigil in Newtown, he asked, "Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?"
A number of lawmakers, including previously strong advocates for gun rights, have also said it is time for the nation to take a look at its gun control laws. Among the proposals being put forth is a ban on assault weapons and the elimination of the so-called "gun show loophole" that allows for those not "engaged in the business" of selling firearms to privately sell guns without the background checks and paperwork required for licensed vendors.
Advocates of tougher firearm regulation point out that the United States has a higher rate of gun deaths than many other developed countries including Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. They argue that even if the proposals being offered wouldn't have prevented the Sandy Hook shooting, they would at least put a dent in the some tens of thousands of gun deaths America experiences each year (over 31,000 in 2007, the year for which the most recent data is available from the Centers for Disease Control).
Defenders of gun rights say that any more regulations would violate the Second Amendment, which says, "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringe." Many argue that if more citizens carried weapons, criminals would be less likely to commit violent crimes. Some also suggest that other issues aside from guns should be the forefront of the national debate in the wake of the tragedy, including violence in video games and access the mental healthcare in America. (The Newtown shooter reportedly was a video gamer and suffered from a mental illness).
Does the Sandy Hook shooting prove the need for more gun control? Here is the Debate Club's take"
John Lott Author of 'More Guns, Less Crime.'
Erich Pratt Director of Communications for Gun Owners of America
Joshua Horwitz Executive Director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.
John Hudak Fellow at the Brookings Institution
Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner Cofounder and CEO of MomsRising