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December 17, 2012 06:18 PM

Politicians Talk Gun Control

In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting, many of you and some politicians are now calling for a new look at changing the nation's gun control laws.

The shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, has led to many demonstrations all over the country where people are demanding a reform to gun control laws.  Gun control has also been a trending big topic on Twitter.

South Dakota's lawmakers do not have a lot to say about gun control and declined to do interviews.  Republican Senator John Thune, Democratic Senator Tim Johnson and Republican Representative Kristi Noem are in Washington, D.C., working on the fiscal cliff.  Instead of doing phone interviews with us, they sent us these statements.

"The horrific acts of violence that occurred in Newtown, CT on Friday were beyond unthinkable and we are left with many unanswered questions. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families, the teachers, the first responders, and all who were impacted by this evil. As the father of two daughters, I cannot imagine the pain these parents are going through right now. Our schools are meant to be safe havens for our children and a tragedy like this causes fear and anxiety for all parents across this nation. We reject this violence-it has no place in our society. As we evaluate what happened on that terrible day, we look to better understand ways we can prevent this type of violence from happening again," Thune said.

"My heart aches for the shooting victims and their families. I spent the weekend praying for the victims of this senseless tragedy. This tragedy will certainly force us as a country to have a discussion about our gun laws, as well as our mental health system. Like always, I will carefully consider any proposed legislation and listen to the voices of South Dakotans," Johnson said.

"I can only imagine the grief parents, siblings and others in Newtown are feeling right now. Like other parents across the country, Bryon and I have spent the last few days thinking about our three children and how these parents are dealing with their terrible loss. My heart and prayers go out to all those affected by this senseless tragedy. Our schools are places where our children are supposed to feel safe, and that sense of security was shattered last week. America is not a country where parents should fear sending their children to school. This kind of violence is not acceptable, and we need to examine the results of ongoing investigations and find the best way forward," Noem said.

Other politicians have taken a stronger stance.  On Monday, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said politicians have ignored the issue.  He pointed to similar mass shootings in Tucson, Arizona, where six people were killed and Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head almost two years ago.  He also brought up the shooting at the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, where a man with a gun killed 12 people. 

In Washington, D.C., Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid demanded we look at gun control legislation.

"We need to accept the reality that we're not doing enough to protect our citizens.  In the coming days and weeks, we will engage in a meaningful conversation and thoughtful debate about how to change laws and culture that allow this violence to continue to grow. Every idea should be on the table for discussion," Reid said. 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell did not address gun control, but expressed sorrow for the families.

"We stand with the people of Newtown today and in the days ahead. We can do nothing to lessen their anguish, but we can let them know that we mourn with them.  That we share a tiny part of their burden in our own hearts. And that we lift the victims and their families and the entire community in prayer," McConnell said.

Meanwhile, Republican Texas Representative Louie Gohmert says stricter gun control does not necessarily mean crime rates will go down.

"Washington, D.C., around us ought to be the safest place in America, and it's not. Chicago ought to be safe. It's not, because their gun laws don't work," Gohmert said.

He said lawmakers should "look at the facts, and believes the principal at Sandy Hook Elementary School should have been armed with a gun to protect the school."

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