Gun debate continues to divide following Newtown shooting

December 17, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
According to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, 54 percent support stricter gun control in general, 71 percent oppose the outright ban of handguns, but 52 percent favor banning "semi-automatic" handguns and 59 percent favor banning ammunition clips that hold more than ten bullets. Gun control advocates in the Bay Area are pointing to those numbers and questioning why Congress hasn't acted to ban large-capacity ammunition clips and universal background checks.

Sunday night President Barack Obama said no set of laws could prevent a mass shooting, but that could not be an excuse for doing nothing. Now, the debate over what can and should be done is getting a lot more attention.

In Washington D.C. Monday, protestors demonstrated outside the National Rifle Association headquarters.

A long time gun rights advocate, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., told MSNBC it's time to put a limit on high-capacity ammunition clips.

"I don't know anyone that needs 30 rounds in a clip to go hunting," he said.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., is promising to reintroduce an assault weapons ban that expired in 2004. It was a 1993 mass murder at a San Francisco law office that led to that law.

"It was a dark time in my life in 1993 when my wife was killed at 101 California Street," gun control activist Stephen Sposato said.

Sposato became a gun control activist, testified before Congress, stood with Feinstein as President Bill Clinton signed the law and watched 10 years later as congress let the law expire.

"And Sen. Frist, at the time the Senate majority leader, was bold enough to say that it was the will of the people to let it expire and boy I wish Congress would call Sen. Frist before them now," Sposato said.

In Burlingame, firearms instructor Scott Jackson says it's not guns or high capacity clips, it's violence in mass media aimed at children, particularly violent video games.

"They are advocating violence here and pushing it and the kids are being systematically desensitized," Jackson said.

Jackson also blames the use of some anti-depressant drugs. The FDA has issued a warning that some psychotropic drugs could lead to increased thoughts of suicide.

"We are having a whole generation of murderers that are being raised because of video games and mind altering drugs," Jackson said.

Calls to video game makers and their industry association went unanswered.

At the Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the executive director says violent video games do carry a troubling message.

'That bloodshed and violence is entertaining and that's not something we want to promote," Robyn Thomas said.

But she says banning large-capacity ammunition clips and assault weapons and requiring background checks are also part of a solution.

"We need a national level bill that requires a background check on every transfer and sale of a firearm," Thomas said.


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