Friday’s mass shooting in a Connecticut elementary school has again sparked a national discussion about gun control. While arms possession enjoys constitutional protection premised on the need to protect the security of a free state, thousands of Americans die every year because of gun violence.
Authorities say the weapons used in the Newtown shooting were legally registered to Nancy Lanza, the mother of the gunman, Adam Lanza. She was the first of 27 victims of the shootings.
Newtown native Dan Snyder, a college student, says he was opposed to tighter gun regulation, until Friday.
“I’m still not totally for 100-percent gun control. I just think it should not be as easy. I can definitely see situations if someone had a gun, it could benefit the situation,” he said.
The only American adults prohibited from possessing weapons are convicted criminals and those judged mentally incompetent. But even they have little problem obtaining a firearm. Gun-control advocates call for tighter enforcement of existing gun laws. Opponents call for tighter restriction on gun possession.
Meanwhile, mass shootings continue, a fact President Barack Obama mentioned in his response to Friday’s killings in Newtown. “And we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics,” he said.
Newtown is the headquarters of the National Sports Shooting Foundation, a gun advocacy organization. It says for it to comment on the local killings would be inappropriate at this time “out of respect for the families, the community and the ongoing police investigation.”
But even as bullet-riddled bodies of 6- and 7 year-old children in Newtown are driven away in refrigerated trucks, not everyone here backs the idea of government arms regulation. Joseph Clough, a self-described Christian Evangelist, says when it comes to guns, individuals must control themselves.
“We have freedom here, we have our own will and choice. A lot of people say, ‘if God is real, why does all this happen?’ Well, God created us with our own wills, because He’s not someone who controls or manipulates, so I’m not for controlling or manipulation,” he said.