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Connecticut school shooting raises gun control debate

December 14, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Governor Brown ordered the flags at the California State Capitol to be flown at half-staff, calling the tragedy at the Newton, Connecticut school a heartbreaking loss.

It was 23 years ago that California had its own school shooting at Cleveland Elementary in Stockton which left 5 kids dead and 29 wounded.

That 1989 incident sparked a movement in California that resulted in the strongest guns laws in the country.

Rebecca Gonzales of the Brady Campaign said the Stockton shooting touched on the need for effective firearm control.

"I think it really hit home the importance of strengthening our laws and it really spurred immediate action," Gonzales said.

The Brady Campaign credits California's strong guns laws for making it safer on the streets.

"California has the lowest mortality rate from firearms in the nation," Gonzales said.

The Connecticut shooting is prompting calls for stricter gun laws again across the country, even in California.

Most recent polls show most Americans in general favor more restrictions yet a slim majority still oppose specific policies to restrict gun ownership.

"No, we don't need any stricter gun control than what we already have," said Josh Deaser, a gun store owner.

Deaser says the current laws are working fine.

"Isolated incidents, it's tragic, but we can't knee-jerk and think that's going to solve the problem because it's really not, said Deaser. "If people want to do something bad, they'll figure out a way to do it."

The Michigan House just this week approved a concealed weapons law allowing trained people to carry guns in schools, daycare centers, stadiums and churches. Deaser says the law could have brought down the Connecticut shooter faster if such a law was in place there.

"If somebody were to have a gun there, a concealed weapon, properly trained, know how to use it, the situation would not have gotten as far as it did," Deaser said.

Gonzales disagrees and believes the law is more likely to cause problems.

"I do not think that is the solution," Gonzales said. "I think bringing more firearms into an already confusing situation is going to create more bullets flying and more innocent by-standers being killed."


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