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Expert: Gun control laws wouldn't have prevented school shooting

Posted December 17, 2012

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— A Duke University law professor who helped recommend ways to improve background checks on gun buyers says tighter regulations are unlikely to prevent tragedies like the mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.

Twenty first-graders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., were gunned down in their classrooms Friday by a heavily armed man. Six members of the school staff, the gunman and his mother also died in the rampage.

Gun-control advocates immediately called for a ban on individual ownership of assault rifles, such as the Bush Master AR-15 used in the school shooting.

"There's a lot of emotional response to it. I don't think the answers lie in emotion," retired police officer Lynn Howard said Monday.

Howard and other gun owners said they feel a nation struggling to understand why a man shot defenseless children and teachers is taking aim at them.

"It's just a knee-jerk reaction from people who want to do something just to make them feel good," said Mike Tilley, owner of Personal Defense and Handgun Center in Raleigh.

Duke law professor Christopher Schroeder, who recently left the U.S. Justice Department, said he supports banning assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. Still, he recognizes the limits of legislation.

"I don't believe there is" any law that would have prevented the Connecticut shootings, Schroeder said. "The inability to eliminate it all should not stop us from taking reasonable steps we can take to reduce it."

Assault guns, assault rifles, assault weapon, semiautomatic weapon Gun owners say bans don't work

At the direction of President Barack Obama, he helped craft recommendations to vastly improve the nation's background check system before purchasing guns. Among the ideas not yet approved would be to extend background checks to private party sales, which account for an estimated 40 percent of the gun market.

"If the system covered all purchases, that would help plug that hole," he said.

Tilley argues that past assault weapon and ammunition bans didn't work.

"If anything, it helped to sell more firearms," he said.

The same rush on gun and ammunition purchases occurred this weekend, according to dealers.

Instead of gun control, Tilley said, the Newtown tragedy should drive a conversation about mental health and a society desensitized to violence.

"If anyone thought that this legislation would do any good, they would be on board with it," he said. "We're all looking for answers."

307 Comments

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  • beachboater Dec 18, 2012

    I personally believe that Obama would like to ban all guns. That's one man's opinion. Agree or disagree, it won't bother me.

    My thoughts on the best way to prevent tragedies such as this is to arm school personnel. Earlier news articles said the principal was shot while chasing after the gunman. If she had been armed, she might have had a chance to stop this before it ever got started. Front office staff, janitorial staff, some teachers, properly trained on safely using a firearm would make a difference.

    If a certain professor at Virginia Tech had been armed, how many lives would have been saved? I think many.

    Think about it. And remember Kennesaw Georgia that required all houses to have a gun. Crime dropped to -0-. Who wants to break in a house when you know the homeowner has a gun.

    Towns down the road from Kennesaw saw an increase in crime. it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out.

  • Mustange Dec 18, 2012

    We are turning into a socialist country. We want the government to tell us what we can, cannot, have or do more and more everyday.Just hold on it wont be long now and you will wake up one day and what happen to AMERICA.

  • meganmaxwell Dec 18, 2012

    Gun control does not mean disarmament! That's why we can't stand you people. Everything has to spell DOOM!! Do you really think the gov't would ban all guns???? Have some sense!!!

  • StuckHere Dec 18, 2012

    brianwilson1032: "Why is it crazy to have armed staffed that have had training to save lives."

    The absurdity of this statement cannot be grasped by those that have the second amendment drilled into their heads all their lives. From the outside world looking in, all we can do is shake our heads.

  • rocket Dec 18, 2012

    "Same reason I risk being hit by an intoxicated driver or someone on their cell phone. Because we don't have a choice. How's that. Try Excepting reality. No one can control every situation and to think so is infantile. Waking up every day is a risk. Life is full of risks and if you cannot handle it don’t look to others to make concessions because of your inability to handle reality."

    Best comment I have read today...

  • mxteam44 Dec 18, 2012

    Give the government and inch, and they'll take a mile. That's what I'm afraid of in all of this. If they end up banning all guns, then I guess I'm going to have to join the criminal element in the country, because I'm not going to hand over my few guns that I paid for legally, and sit here with my family and be a sitting duck for some crazed lunatic to come thru my back door. Period! End of story!!!!

  • Classified Dec 18, 2012

    "And why should we risk your hobby killing our kids when "God" tells you to shoot them?" Grand Union

    Same reason I risk being hit by an intoxicated driver or someone on their cell phone. Because we don't have a choice. How's that. Try Excepting reality. No one can control every situation and to think so is infantile. Waking up every day is a risk. Life is full of risks and if you cannot handle it don’t look to others to make concessions because of your inability to handle reality.

  • rocket Dec 18, 2012

    "And why should we risk your hobby killing our kids when "God" tells you to shoot them?"

    That's a really big if. Why don't we just give up all of our freedoms so that we can eliminate all of the variables? That's really what you are advocating for.

  • YA RECKON Dec 18, 2012

    brianwilson1032
    December 18, 2012 2:49 p.m

    Well Said,,,

  • Bill Brasky Dec 18, 2012

    "Right...tell your story to the people of Mexico (or almost any Central American country)...you know the ones where law abiding citizens are prohibited from owning any kind of gun BUT the drug cartels/criminals are better armed than the police or military."

    We are not Mexico. Mexico has a virtually nonexistent government that happens to be in the middle of a drug war. A better example would be virtually all modern day industrialized nations.

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