Tragedy Renews Debate on Gun Control Law

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The tragedy in Arizona is renewing a heated national debate on gun control. Those who want stricter laws are using the shooting to make their case.

Saturday's shooting rampage in Tucson that killed six and wounded 13, has Democrats in Washington calling for stricter limits on high-capacity ammunition magazines. Suspected shooter Jared Loughner's pistol carried 33 rounds.

"There is no reason for a citizen to have these large capacity clips," Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., said. "Police, military - absolutely. But these are mass destruction on being able to kill many people in short period of time."

Tucson's sheriff said he believes Arizona's laws are too weak.

"I have never been a proponent of letting everybody in this state carry weapons under any circumstances that they want. And that's almost where we are," Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, Pima County, said.

But the right to bear arms is enshrined in the constitution and public support for stronger handgun laws has fallen dramatically, from 78 percent in 1990 to only 44 percent last year.

"The very substantial majority of Americans believe that the Constitution does provide for the right of gun ownership in this country," Gary Langer, with ABC News's polling unit, said.

Terrible shootings like the one in Columbine in 1999 and Virginia Tech in 2007 did little to change public opinion.

"People have become suspicious of the ability of laws to make a difference," Paul Helmke, president of Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said. "And I think that when they look at shootings like this, they think laws didn't stop this from happening."

At least one congressman, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said he'll continue to exercise his right to carrying a concealed weapon when he works in his home district.

"It's something I feel is my right and I like to exercise that right," he said. "And I hope I never am in a scenario that I have to pull it out of my holster."

Second amendment supporters argue that if handguns were taken away from law abiding citizens, they would still be in the hands of the bad guys. One of the men who stopped suspected shooter Loughner was carrying a handgun and was prepared to use it.

"I had my hand on my gun. I was ready to end his life," local resident Joe Zamudio said.

And if high capacity ammo clips are banned, gun rights supporters say criminals will still be able to find them.

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CBN News
Dale Hurd

Dale Hurd

CBN News Sr. Reporter

A CBN News veteran, Dale Hurd has reported extensively from Western Europe, as well as China, Russia, and Central and South America.  Since 9/11, Dale has reported in depth on various aspects of the global war on terror in the United States and Europe.  Follow Dale on Twitter @HurdontheWeb and "like" him at