Gun control debate renewed in wake of tragedy
Addressing the press for the first time just before 2p.m. Friday afternoon, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, appeared to give a nod to the gun control debate that seems to renew strength every time an isolated and senseless incident of violence results in American deaths.
“We can’t allow people that are aberrations of nature to take away the joys and freedoms that we enjoy,” Hickenlooper said, in spite of the tragedy and emotion.
Admirably, the morning following the tragic theater shooting in Aurora, Colo. has brought statements of sympathy and compassion from both sides of the aisle in Congress, and few political pronouncements that use the horrific incident as a prop.
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y) who promptly called for stronger gun control legislation in the wake of the shooting that injured then- Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in 2011, released a statement with a much more muted message this morning.
“The horrific nightmare of a mass shooting on innocent civilians in a crowded public place has, sadly, come true once again. I mourn alongside the people of Aurora for the many killed and injured and the countless family and friends whose lives, as a result of the consequences of this event, will be negatively affected for decades to come,” she said.
At the end of the statement came the only hint at an agenda: “The shooter should be brought to justice and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. But we as a nation should also not continue to ignore avenues to prevent tragedies like this from happening in the future.”
Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), who has previously promised to renew a ban on assault weapons, also downplayed politics in his reaction statement.
“Colorado is not a violent place, but we have some violent people,” he said. We are a strong and resilient community, and we will lean on each other in the days, weeks and months to come.”
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an outspoken gun control advocate, did take to the airwaves this morning, calling on President Barack Obama and Republican presumptive nominee to address the policy issue directly.
“I mean, there are so many murders with guns every day, it’s just got to stop,” he told radio station WOR.
Mitt Romney, speaking earlier today, opted for a more unifying message, telling a crowd they should take the opportunity to comfort the afflicted in their lives during this time of national sadness.
“This is a time for each of us to look at our hearts and remember how much we love one another,” he said.
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) took an opposite tack in a Heritage Foundation radio interview, calling the shootings an act of terrorism and suggesting another armed person in the theater could have apprehended shooting suspect James Holmes and mitigated the violence.
With so little known about the motives of the shooter and what took place in theater Number 9 last night, it seems too early to make any broad pronouncement about this tragedy and what it means for the nation.