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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tragedy May Renew Gun Control Debate

From latimes.com: Monday's deadly rampage at Virginia Tech sparked a largely one-sided response in the long-running debate over guns.

Gun control advocates said the shootings pointed to the need for tougher laws, while supporters of gun rights generally kept their heads down.

And leaders of both major political parties expressed sympathy for victims and their families, while avoiding comment on gun control.

In brief remarks from the White House, President Bush expressed the nation's grief over the carnage in Blacksburg, Va. "Schools should be places of sanctuary and learning," he said. "When that sanctuary is violated, the impact is felt in every American classroom and every American community."

Bush, a longtime champion of the right to bear arms, said nothing about the gun control debate.

Similarly, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco expressed sorrow about the shootings but remained silent on gun control. In the past, Democrats often have led the fight for tighter gun laws, but recently the party has been trying to broaden its appeal to hunters and others who oppose more controls.

However, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y), whose husband was among six people killed by a gunman who opened fire on a Long Island Rail Road train in 1993, added a political note to her statement of sympathy. "The unfortunate situation in Virginia could have been avoided if congressional leaders stood up to the gun lobby." Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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