December 17, 2014

Connecticut massacre revives gun control debate (AUDIO)

The shooting rampage at a Newton, Connecticut elementary school Friday has revived the debate over gun control nationwide and in Wisconsin.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that by carefully controlling the access, particularly to automatic weapons, would make a difference,” said Madison Mayor Paul Soglin, adding he’s “pessimistic” changes will happen as “it’s not in the will of the United States Congress.”

At a Racine vigil for the Connecticut victims, retired minister Glen Halbee advocated for controlling the use of “semi-automatic weaponry in this country.” He told the crowd, “Someway there must be an answer for coming together for a solution.”

But Jim Fendry of the Wisconsin Pro-Gun Movement said more anti-gun laws won’t help, noting Connecticut has “some of the tightest gun controls” in the nation: “Not only do they not stop crazy people they do not stop criminals. Generally, gun control laws tend to give the advantage or edge to those who break any of the laws.”

Jeri Bonavia of the Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort dismisses arguments that you can’t control crazy people through legislation “No other country suffers with this kind of gun violence. To feed that line of thinking I just won’t even go there today, not today,” Bonavia said Friday, following the shooting massacre.

A legislative leader told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to prevent such occurrences in Wisconsin, it may be time to review the state law that bans guns, including permitted concealed weapons, at schools. Republican Alberta Darling, co-chair of the finance committee, called the current law “advertising where people aren’t able to protect themselves.”

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said he would again ask state lawmakers next year to make it a felony for those prohibited from carrying concealed weapons to do so, and for people to buy guns for criminals.

Police say on Friday morning a 20-year-old gunman killed his mother at her home in Newtown with one of her firearms. He took her semi-automatic rifle and two pistols to nearby Sandy Hook Elementary School where he systematically killed six adults and 20 children, all who were in the first grade, before taking his own life.

 AUDIO: Brian Moon reports (2:37)

John Colbert-WIBA and Tom Karkow-WRJN contributed to this report