Saturday, October 25, 2014

Gun control should be part of response to Newtown killings
Posted on Dec. 23, 2012 at 12:00 a.m.

Editor's note: Central in the public debate in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., massacre has been whether new gun-control measures are merited. Here some locals speak out in favor. Click here to get the other side of the argument, why new controls aren't necessarily the way to go.

Permitting guns for hunting is one thing.

But assault weapons, like the semi-automatic weapon reportedly used in the Newtown, Conn., school killings? That, says Goshen Mayor Allan Kauffman, is another thing altogether.

“I just don't get why it's so easy to get those things,” he said.

In his view, there ought to be more restrictions on guns, a ban on assault weapons.

Kimi Jackson, mother of Kristyana Jackson, the 7-year-old Elkhart girl shot and killed in an unsolved Aug. 17 home invasion, would also like to see a crackdown on weapons. Criminals will always find ways to get guns, she suspects, but the tragic death of her daughter has made her take closer note of the gun issue — laws should perhaps be tightened so it isn't so easy to get such weapons.

“You hear of all the shootings in South Bend” and larger cities like Chicago, she said. “But when it hits close to home, it makes you open your eyes wide.”

Jason Moreno, an Elkhart man who spearheaded a forum aimed at assuring neighborhood safety following Kristyana's death, thinks there's no single remedy. Looking at gun laws to better safeguard who has access to them, though, has to be a part of the fix, particularly with the aim of keeping weapons out of the hands of those with mental health problems.

Suspected Newtown gunman Adam Lanza had mental health problems, some media reports suggest, and the gun he used came from a cache kept by his mother, also killed in his attacks.

“... (Y)ou can't eliminate guns, but you can demand registration on all weapons so we know if they're in a home with someone with mental illness,” he said in an email. “If your firearm is stolen as a result of your negligence, you should be legally and civilly responsible for any damages that may occur if it's used in the commission of a crime.”

Likewise, getting a license to carry a concealed weapon should include some sort of mental health check, in addition to the criminal background check already required.