Many solutions to gun control debated

Adam Schasel, Staff Reporter

With the nation still reeling from the Sandy Hook massacre, in which an armed gunman killed 28 people before turning his firearm on himself, government officials at the local, state and federal levels are searching to find the legislative response to prevent another tragedy.

Vice president Joe Biden has been holding meetings with representatives from the video game and film industries, law enforcement officials, in addition to members of gun lobbying organizations and president Barack Obama’s own cabinet to draft appropriate laws to combat gun violence. Although details regarding the Obama administration’s plan are not revealed until Tuesday, it is rumored that Biden is considering a multitude of options such as a renewed ban on assault weapons, magazine regulations and closing some gun-ownership loopholes, such as those that permit gun purchasers to avoid a background check if purchasing a firearm from a gun show.

The National Rifle Association, the country’s leading gun lobby, is taking a different approach. In a press release dated December 21, NRA spokesman Wayne La Pierre blamed the uptick in mass shootings on Hollywood and video games, calling for reductions in the amount of violent video games and movies in society, as well as establishing national registers documenting mentally ill individuals and placing armed guards placed in every school in the country.

“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” La Pierre said.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), who survived a gunshot wound to the head after a mass shooting at a 2010 campaign rally in Tuscon, Arizona, recently created a Political Action Committee with her husband called Americans for Responsible Solutions, which will seek to pass gun control legislation and communicate pro-gun control legislation to constituents.

“As a Western woman and a Persian Gulf War combat veteran [Kelly] who have exercised our Second Amendment rights, we don’t want to take away your guns any more than we want to give up the two guns we have locked in a safe at home,” Giffords said in a piece she had written for USA Today. “What we do want is what the majority of NRA members and other Americans want: responsible changes in our laws to require responsible gun ownership and reduce gun violence.”

But  in Texas, State Rep. Jason Villalba (R-114) has introduced a bill which seeks to place guns in Texas schools for children’s protection.

The bill, called the Protection of Texas Children Act, would place trained, voluntary and undercover individuals in schools that would be armed in case of an attack on their school.

Although the bill has been mischaracterized as giving teachers the authority to carry weapons in the classroom, Villalba, in an interview with KERA 90.1, says this is not true.

“That is not the objective here,” Villalba said. “What we are trying to do is expand law enforcement in the schools.”

Under their deputized status, these school marshals would be allowed to use force only when a lethal force is being executed within the school.

Although organizations and government officials are utilizing a variety of approaches to tackle the issue of gun violence, an ultimate solution is far from realized. Lengthy debates in Congress are sure to be expected as the country acts to prevent another Newtown.