WESTVILLE – With the world still reeling from the shock of the Newtown, Connecticut, shooting, reflection on the tragedy has now shifted to the U.S.’s gun control laws.
While both sides of the gun control debate mourn the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, they are very much divided on what it will take to prevent this kind of massacre from happening again.
Many are reflecting on our current gun control laws in Canada and the U.S. and whether they go far enough.
Bob Ferguson of Westville owns and operates Ferguson’s Corner Store and Sports Shop, which sell hunter rifles, shotguns and ammunition. “We’re way ahead here in Canada when it comes to gun control laws,” he says.
“You have to be responsible for your guns, which means going through mandatory safety training, mental assessments, criminal checks and ensuring your guns are kept locked up.”
As far as assault weapons are concerned, Ferguson sees little room for debate. “Semi-automatic weapons need to be removed completely,” he says. “There’s no place for them in this society.”
Jon Fisher of Moose River feels equally as strong. “The United States government must act without hesitation to ban the sale and use of assault weapons.”
“After what we have witnessed,” Fisher says, “can any American defend the legality of these weapons with a clear conscience?”
Ferguson says gun culture is different here than in the U.S. “[Americans] still go back to ‘the right to bear arms’ and they value that. It’s not so engrained in Canadian culture.”
“(For Canada), we’ve got a good balance of gun control. The U.S. should look to us for laws and regulations to strive for.”
President Obama has already stated his intention to reinstate a federal assault weapons ban that expired in 2004. Numerous states are also assessing their legislation to see what else, if anything, is required.
The original law enacted in 1994 prohibited the manufacture of certain semi-automatic weapons, like the Bushmaster .223 – the weapon Adam Lanza used to kill 26 children and adults on Dec. 14.