A selection of reader comments from our Facebook page on Monday:
On a poll question asking if lawmakers should push for new gun control laws, including a ban on the sale of assault weapons, in light of the Connecticut school shooting massacre:
• So what would be the plan for people who already have assault riffles ... just a guess, but there are probably thousands of them in the U.S.? — Wayne J
• Well I don’t think they should do that because we have a lot of hunters ... I think they should have police and scanners that pick things up like guns and anything that will put people in harm around schools or places like that — Michael R.
• No — it’s not the guns that are the problem — Sherry K.
• No! — Heather L.
• They should have at least two to three police at a school, and scan people that go in and out of schools, just like a government building — Michael R.
• No, people kill not guns and if someone wants a gun bad enough they can get one anywhere. They are sold all the time for money for people to get something else with. People steal them and everything else. So they will get one some way — Sherry B.
• No — Cindy G.
• I think we need a better support system for mentally ill and abused/bullied children. If the parents can not properly take care of them they need to be forced to give them to someone who can. We need more counselors in schools and more funding for programs to help with this — Chrissy C.
• Need a media ban to stop all of the media from making these people out to be famous and giving other sick people ideas. The guns are just one of many tools they can use but you all are giving them the idea with everyone you talk about for days. So it’s all the media’s fault for showing them the attention they will get for doing stupid stuff like this — Scott B.
• The only way a gun kills is in the hands if a killer. The same goes for vehicles that are driven by drunks. Or knives that people stab others with, etc. Laws that restrict things don’t necessarily work. Cocaine, heroine, drug abuse are illegal too, but yet it thrives in our communities. If a person wants to do something horrible they will find the resources no matter what the laws say. Tim McVeigh used fertilizer and diesel fuel to make a bomb and murder people. Think about this question in realistic terms — Chris S.
• I think there should be a ban on assault weapons being sold. Those who already have them should have to turn them in to the military within a certain amount of time, and if found with them later should be heavily fined or imprisoned. A handgun for home protection is one thing but these are another. It’s impossible to tell who shouldn’t have one prior to purchase. People can pass a psych test even if they are unstable. And since government takes away school funding, who is supposed to pay armed guards to stand in schools all day? Also, if you really need that kind of weapon for self protection, maybe you should evaluate your life, where you live, who you’ve (expletive deleted) off, your own temperament. Just sayin’... — Carolyn S.
• I say let the citizens have whatever kind of gun they want, it is our right to own whatever [and] it doesn’t have to be for hunting because we have that right. That tragedy was sad but as Ben Franklin boldly stated “those who would trade civil liberties for personal safety deserve neither.” — Jacc N.
• Do you know what the difference is between a semi automatic .223 Bushmaster and a semi-automatic .223 hunting rifle? Nothing, except the assault rifle looks meaner — Josh S.
• We cannot have a sensible discussion about gun control because people instantly act as if any gun control means banning all guns. I have been disgusted by the instant insane response this shooting has caused. To these people even mentioning banning weapons that can kill dozens of people in under a minute is worse than the lunatic that obtained a legal assault rifle and killed 20 children and seven adults. Other countries have managed to have some basic gun control and they don’t have 1/100th the gun deaths as the United States does. The Second Amendment was written when the most advanced gun available was a single shot flintlock rifle or a pistol that took as much as two minutes to reload. They definitely did not envision a day when people would equate that amendment with their right to own a .50 caliber machine gun to protect their family. I don’t own a gun but I fully support an individual’s right to own one, it’s just a matter of at what point do we say, “No, you cannot own a gun that can fire 300 rounds a minute.” Should I be allowed to buy some plutonium 239 and make myself a nuclear bomb? If not then you must be a communist because you want to prevent me from exercising my Second Amendment right to defend my home from the Huns with a 40-megaton nuke — Joe H.
• Controlling guns will help nothing. Guns don’t kill unless the trigger is pulled by a person. The government tries to control drugs. This hasn’t stopped drugs, so why do people think gun control will help anything? Let get to root of the problems. We have a lot of mentally sick people in the world. I feel government needs to look at mental health issues and help the people before they become a problem — Charlie S.
• The problem is not the gun, the problem is the person holding the gun. Society allows people with mental illnesses to slip through the cracks and not receive the help they need, that is the problem. I think the time and energy the government will spend on figuring out this issue would be much better spent figuring out how to help the mentally ill. People wonder why drug usage is on the rise, it is largely because most people are attempting to self medicate their mental impairments — Samuel B.
• It is not unlawful or illegal for people to be crazy. It is, however, justification for removal from society if people are a danger to themselves or others. How crazy do you have to be before you cannot buy a gun? How sane do you have to be before you can buy a gun? — Bill M.