Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Joplin school shooting incident mentioned in Iowa political debate

The school shooting incident at Memorial Middle School became a part of a debate between congressional candidates in Iowa Monday night.
Guns were one of the issues discussed when incumbent Republican Mike Whalen and Democratic challenger Bruce Braley:

The two candidates also disagreed on whether there is a need to tighten gun control laws further as a result of recent shootings and other violence in schools across the country. Both Braley and Whalen agreed that a federal commission on school safety should be formed, but disagreed on whether tighter restrictions on gun control should be imposed.

Braley indicated that he could support bans on assault weapons such as the one used by a teenager in a Joplin, Mo., school today.

“It is the issue of whether an assault weapon should be in the hands of people to use for this kind of a purpose. I don’t think we want to deprive anyone of their ability to hunt in Iowa, but we have to have laws to prevent this from happening,” Braley said.

Whalen disagreed, suggesting that lawbreakers don’t usually break federal gun laws in these types of crimes.

“If federal gun control really worked, Washington, D.C., which has some of the toughest gun control laws in the country, wouldn’t be one of the murder capitals of the country,” Whalen said. “We need to look for the reasons for school violence in other places."

While guns are far from being the root cause of school violence, they are definitely part of the problem and the easy availability of this kind of gun to the youngsters who have been involved in school shootings must be addressed.

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