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DISCUSS: Tragedy and Gun Control Debate

In the wake of the Aurora, Colo., shootings, should gun laws be reconsidered?

Tragedy struck the city of Aurora, Colo., last month when a gunman opened fire on a crowd inside a cinema. A dozen people were killed, and many more were injured.

In the wake of the tragedy, the gun control debate is gaining new steam from both sides, from Capitol Hill to pundits to kitchen tables across America.

Some say the tragedy shows the need for stricter gun regulations because James Holmes, the man charged with the killings, had purchased his guns and ammunition legally.

Others say toughening gun laws would violate the Constitution and would not prevent these kinds of tragedies anyway. Many also say the massacre was a product of Holmes' disturbed mental state and not an issue that should penalize law-abiding gun owners.

In Massachusetts, towns have guidelines they must follow when issuing gun permits. First there's a background check and safety course requirements. But also, for certain types of gun permits, there has to be a purpose besides just home safety.

"They also have to show a need for it," North Andover Police Lt. Charles Gray said. "If they want a permit to carry a concealed weapon, they have to have a reason for doing that."

And even if an applicant passes the requirements for a permit, Gray added, that permit can be taken away if they fail suitability requirements, such as having a restraining order against them.

There have been gun permit applications denied in North Andover for these reasons, he said.

The gun control debate, despite regulations and application requirements, continues to ignite passions from both sides. We want to know what people in North Andover think. Do you think gun laws should be tightened, decreased or kept the same? Discuss in the comments below.

Bill Callahan August 03, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Absolutely. Massachusetts has strong guns laws and also has low murder rates: Quoting Brian McGrory from last week. "Massachusetts has, per capita, the lowest rate of gun-related fatalities of any state in the nation – number 50, with 3.14 annual deaths per 100,000 people. The national average is 10.19 deaths. The worst state, Louisiana, has 18.03 deaths."
Bill Callahan August 03, 2012 at 05:02 PM
And from another Boston Globe article last week: "Authorities in Massachusetts, which has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation, recovered 1,737 firearms used in crimes during 2011. Of the 1,020 firearms that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms traced to their state of origin, just 351originated in Massachusetts. About 250 of the 1,020 guns traced came from nearby states with less restrictive gun laws, including 133 from New Hampshire and 79 from Maine."
Bill Callahan August 03, 2012 at 05:03 PM
However, too many politicians fear the NRA - our President included.
Max August 03, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Massachusetts has an AWB. in spite of that, the same guns used in Colorado with little cometic changes can be bought also in Massachusetts (e.g. see S&W Mass Legal AR-15). The same guy would have gotten an LTC here as well, because of his clean background, perhaps with restrictions for hunting and target practice as they often do in Mass. The result would have been the same. a disguised apparently sane-at the time of licensing- lunatic with a gun. Our lower gun death followed a national trend that preceded the 1998 Mass reform and have no causal relationship. While our "tough" gun laws only penalized law abiding citizens giving a false sense of security and law&order to the unarmed population: result, Crooks still get plenty of guns without bothering with Mass discretional and abusive gun laws. Vermont, with no gun regulations and constitutional carry, has a much lower rate of gun crimes than Massachusetts. we have gun crime because we have gangs. and guess what, gangs don't bother with Mass licensing scheme...
MikeA August 03, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Restricting weapons is a simplistic approach to a complex problem. There's little if any proof that these laws reduce crime.
Bill Callahan August 03, 2012 at 07:00 PM
@Max - the local police would have had to approve his LTC.

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