Wisconsin News

Shooting reignites gun control debate

LA CROSSE, Wis. - The tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School has reignited a national debate on gun control.

A federal ban on semi-automatic assault rifles expired in 2004. There is strong disagreement on whether bringing that ban back would prevent another mass shooting from happening.

Those who support a ban point the the high number of bullets that can be fired from a semi-automatic weapon in just a short period of time.

"It's something unnecessary. It causes so much grief," said Liz MacEwen, of Onalaska.

MacEwen is not against guns. In fact, her husband owns a shotgun. She just thinks semi-automatic assault rifles are just too dangerous to be in the hands of the public.


"I've been sad that nothing happened years ago on it," said MacEwen.

That could be changing. Lawmakers in Washington are already talking about more gun control legislation.

During a memorial service in Newtown on Sunday, President Obama said something has to change.

"Because what choice do we have? We can't accept events like this as routine," he said.

Some states, like California, specifically ban semi-automatic assault rifles. Neither Wisconsin nor Minnesota have state bans. Some argue the bans don't work anyway,

"Like anything that's restricted by the government, there's always a way around it," said Michael Griffith, of La Crosse.

"If someone really wanted to get a gun, there's ways to get one," he added.

In fact, the leader of Gun Owners of America says putting firearms in the hands of educators would help protect school children.

"There are members of Congress that would like to see the school zone gun ban done away with, and I think that's encouraging," said Larry Platt, the organization's executive director.

It's a debate over our second amendment right and that debate will likely never stop.

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