Since the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Gifford, the debate over gun-control has taken center stage across the United States. Gun-control advocates believe the shootings show Arizona law should be reviewed to make sure firearms are not falling into the wrong hands. Those on the other side of the aisle disagree, gun-right proponents say more regulation would not have stopped the tragedy.
A new Rasmussen Report recently found that only 29% of adults believe tougher gun control laws would help prevent shootings like the one in Arizona. The survey found 62% disagree and say tougher control would not make a difference.
Gun owners who were polled overwhelmingly believe tighter control would not prevent the shootings, 76% of those with guns in their home said stricter laws would not help prevent similar shootings. When asked about gun control overall, only 36% of those polled said the United States needed stricter laws, 56% do not share that same thought and oppose stronger anti-gun laws.
Bernie Stokes, who owns Panhandle Gunslingers in Amarillo, said that "getting rid of the guns will not get rid of the violence," adding that it was a sad state of affairs of the time we live in.
Stokes pointed out that the suspect could have just as easily gotten into a car and drove through the crowd, harming just as many people. Stokes believes that taking guns or the second amendement away would not address the problem.
Either way, it appears the stage is setting up for a debate over gun rights. Legislation is being drafted by lawmakers, most of which seems to focus on the number of rounds a magazine can hold. Magazine clips were limited to 10 rounds under the 1994 assault weapons ban. Congress let that law expire in 2004 after Republicans were seen to have capitalized on the National Rifle Association's opposition to it in the 2000 presidential race and other elections.
The Tucson shootings have brought fresh calls to make clips with more than 10 rounds illegal from the same core group of Democratic lawmakers who have led past efforts for stricter gun controls: Sens. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey and Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer of California and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy of New York.
Congressman Mac Thornberry, from the Texas Panhandle, issued this statement regarding stricter gun control, "passing another law to regulate guns will not stop someone who wants to commit murder. We should look at how we deal with mental illness in schools and elsewhere."
Party leaders on both side of the aisle have dogged questions in recent days on the magaize issue, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner said, "This is a time for the House and all Americans to come together to mourn our losses and pray for those who are recovering, not a time for politics."
A sentiment which was also echoed by a spokesperson for Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, who said, "at the moment, the leader's thoughts and prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords and those who were killed and injured."