Now It's Time for Gun Control Debate

Pundits opine in wake of the Newtown rampage

By Kevin Spak,  Newser User

Posted Dec 17, 2012 12:30 PM CST | Updated Dec 17, 2012 1:56 PM CST
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(Newser) – In the wake of the Newtown school shooting, there's one topic on every opinion writer's keyboard: guns. Is America finally ready to have a conversation about gun control? Here's what people are saying:

  • Joe Scarborough gave an impassioned speech on Morning Joe this morning. "From this day forward, nothing can ever be the same again," he declared. Scarborough earned the NRA's top rating while in Congress, but he said that on Friday he realized "that the ideologies of my past career were no longer relevant ... It is time for Congress to put children before deadly dogma."
  • It's absolutely OK to politicize this situation, writes Michael Grunwald at Time. "The kind of people who believe politics is inappropriate at times like this tend to be the kind of people who believe politics is trivial entertainment." Policies have consequences, and "now is the time to debate them, not to STFU."

  • "We should mourn, but we should be angry," writes EJ Dionne in the Washington Post, calling for bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, background checks, and other reforms. "If Congress does not act this time, we can deem it as totally bought and paid for by the representatives of gun manufacturers."
  • But David Frum thinks President Obama is the wrong man to lead the charge. "If the president—any president—inserts himself into the gun debate, he will inevitably polarize it," he reasons at CNN. An outside group modeled on Mothers Against Drunk Driving would be more effective. "Only that way can the campaign avoid being held hostage" by partisanship.
  • Not everyone agrees that it's time to act. "The chances of being killed in a mass shooting are about what they are for being struck by lightning," points out John Fund at the National Review, arguing that gun control will be ineffective and even counterproductive. Shootings most often occur in so-called "gun-free zones" like schools, or, as one ex-sheriff calls them "helpless-victim zones."

Twenty-seven small US flags adorn a large flag on a makeshift memorial on the side of Highway 84 near the Newtown, Conn.
Twenty-seven small US flags adorn a large flag on a makeshift memorial on the side of Highway 84 near the Newtown, Conn.   (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
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Joe Scarborough changes his tune on gun control.   (MSNBC)

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