Last year, an elementary-school shooting left twenty first graders and six faculty members in Newtown, Connecticut dead after a gunman broke into the school and began attacking, using legally-obtained weapons owned by his mother, who he also killed, before the attacks.
As the country and the Newtown community recover, many are asking questions about both the state of mental health care in the United States but also about the contribution the weapons the attacker had access to made to how much damage he was able to do. Many have suggested that in order to stop regular attacks on innocent people, something has to be done.
Advocates of the second amendment, which guarantees citizens the “right to bear arms” argue that access to guns is not the problem, but that a culture of violence begets violent acts. Some propose that arming more citizens would reduce the number of mass shootings, because perpetrators would be fearful of being shot themselves. The National Rifle Association (NRA) has called for armed guards at every school as a measure to protect children. Their spokesperson, Wayne LaPierre said, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” shortly after the Newtown attack.
The opposition argues that when the second amendment was written, no one could have possibly conceived of the amount of damage that a modern weapon could do and that it is unreasonable to allow average citizens unrestricted access to them. Some lawmakers are calling for new legislation that would ban some guns that fire more bullets in a shorter amount of time as well as increased controls on bullets.
And then there are the various arguments in between. Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mike Kelly have launched a political action committee dedicated to curbing gun violence. President Obama has also released a list of executive orders that he will make as well as a list of policy proposals for stopping gun violence.
Learn more about the debate in the videos and articles below. And tell us where you stand on this critical issue in the comments.