The possibility of revamped, stricter federal gun control laws has large numbers of both proponents and opponents speaking out across the country, including local law enforcement officials.
The incident that ultimately sparked President Obama’s call to reign in gun control was the Dec. 14, 2012, Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy where Adam Lanza broke into the school and began shooting. Within minutes, 20 first graders – 6 and 7-year-olds – and six staff members were killed.
That afternoon, the President addressed the tragedy from the White House and two days later at a prayer vigil in Newtown he said we couldn’t tolerate this kind of tragedy anymore. He announced it was time to take meaningful action to reduce gun violence in America.
“If there is even one step we can take to save another child, or another parent, or another town, from the grief that has visited Tucson, and Aurora, and Oak Creek, and Newtown, and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that -- then surely we have an obligation to try,” he said.
In Lafayette County, Sheriff Brian Lamb stated his stance on the subject.
“The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects the rights of the people to keep and bear arms and was adopted on Dec. 15, 1791. I have taken an oath as your sheriff to support, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. I strongly believe in our rights guaranteed to us by the Constitution,” said Lamb. “Therefore I will not take away any firearm from law abiding citizens or support anything limiting our rights to own firearms.”
The president said he believes most gun owners are responsible and law-abiding, and they use their guns safely. He also strongly believes that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms, but to better protect our children and communities from tragic mass shootings there are common-sense steps we can take right now.
Five days after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, the president announced that Vice President Joe Biden would lead the effort to develop a set of concrete policy proposals for reducing gun violence. Biden solicited input from citizens and organizations with a wide range of concerns, perspectives and opinions while preparing his recommendations.
In addition to Biden’s meetings and discussions in Washington, people from around the country joined the conversation about preventing gun violence by signing We the People petitions on the White House web site. On Jan. 15, Biden delivered his policy proposals to the president, who then signed 23 executive orders on Jan. 16, to help keep guns out of the wrong hands, make schools safer and increase access to mental health services.
Meanwhile the National Rifle Association, numerous law enforcement officials and many American citizens are “up in arms” about the sweeping changes being considered to gun control laws.