The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

December 18, 2012

Gun advocates conflicted on changes after massacre


Firearms are in a third or more of U.S. households and suspicion runs deep of an overbearing government whenever it proposes expanding federal authority. The argument of gun-rights advocates that firearm ownership is a bedrock freedom as well as a necessary option for self-defense has proved persuasive enough to dampen political enthusiasm for substantial change after recent mass shootings.

That may be changing.

A growing number of Democratic politicians — even Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who had previously taken pro-gun positions for years, and moderate gun owners like West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin — have indicated an openness to tighten gun laws. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., plans to introduce a bill next year that would renew the expired ban on newly purchased assault weapons in addition to restricting clips or drums that hold more than 10 bullets. And even some Republicans now say they're willing to discuss the politically treacherous issue of gun control along with mental health issues and violent video games.

Some gun owners appear to be anticipating changes in the law, buying up certain types of firearms while they're still permitted.

Andrew Molchan, director of the Professional Gun Dealers Association, said Tuesday that sales of the AR-15 — the same rifle Adam Lanza used in Newtown, Conn. — have increased across the country.

"It's what you might expect especially when people start talking about banning certain guns," Molchan said. "I would be surprised if there is much inventory on the shelves anywhere at this point."

Other gun owners in states like Maine are reaching out to their elected officials to ensure their interests are protected.

"I've been contacted by Mainers on all sides of this issue," said Rep. Maine Michaud, a moderate Democrat who represents much of the rural part of the state. "Some are looking for reforms to our gun laws as they relate to assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips, and others are concerned about restrictions on their constitutionally protected rights."

Text Only
State and Nation


Which foreign crisis is the biggest threat to the security of the United States?

None of the above
     View Results
AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee