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Posted on Mon, Dec 17, 2012 : 10:53 a.m.

Gun Control: In wake of Sandy Hook incident, is now the time to reconsider gun laws?

By Wayne Baker

1217 Sandy Hook school shootings.jpg
Editor's note: This post is part of a series by Dr. Baker on Our Values about core American values. This week Dr. Baker is discussing gun control.

LET’S BEGIN WITH TWO INDELIBLE IMAGES: The single-file line of weeping school children, led through a parking lot toward safety — and the president wiping away tears as he tried to express the sorrow felt by parents nationwide. (You can watch that presidential video below, today.)

Our nation mourns the shooting deaths of 20 children and seven adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Yesterday, the president traveled to Sandy Hook to mourn with the families of the victims and the community.

The question I want to raise in is: Will this horrific tragedy be the one that spurs a reconsideration of the Second Amendment and new legislation to control guns? Past shootings have not. Is now the time?

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, long an outspoken advocate of gun control, issued a statement as co-chair of Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

“With all the carnage from gun violence in our country, it’s still almost impossible to believe that a mass shooting in a kindergarten class could happen. It has come to that. Not even kindergarteners learning their ABC’s are safe.

We heard after Columbine that it was too soon to talk about gun laws. We heard it after Virginia Tech. After Tucson and Aurora and Oak Creek. And now we are hearing it again. For every day we wait, 34 more people are murdered with guns. Today, many of them were 5-year-olds.”

Mayor Bloomberg called on the president to send a bill to Congress to address the problem. Obama called for “meaningful action” in his speech about Sandy Hill Elementary, but Bloomberg says we need “immediate action.”

“We have heard all the rhetoric before,” says Bloomberg. “What we have not seen is leadership—not from the White House and not from Congress. That must end today. This is a national tragedy and it demands a national response.”

Meanwhile, has started an online petition in support of gun control. is a user-initiated petition service, provided by As of yesterday afternoon, it had more than 210,000 signatures.

Is it time for serious gun control?

Do you support gun control — why or why not?

Care to watch the video of the president?

Wayne Baker is a sociologist on the faculty of the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. Baker blogs daily at Our Values and can be reached at or on Facebook.



Mon, Dec 17, 2012 : 7:03 p.m.

I would see nothing wrong with requiring additional training and licensing for firearm ownership....even with long guns. I've been around guns and hunting all my life....and I've seen a ton of irresponsible people with guns.


Mon, Dec 17, 2012 : 4:52 p.m.

Dr. Baker of has shown previous signs of intellectual failure - now he's evidently bent on influencing us to go chasing after the red herring. Baker says: "Will this horrific tragedy be the one that spurs a reconsideration of the Second Amendment and new legislation to control guns? " – It's fair to say that if Baker doesn't even name the killer while accusing "guns" of that atrocity - he's misusing his standing as a columnist to influence our thinking. Good thinking - must be founded on such things as identifying causes. Guns didn't cause this grievous tragedy: Adam Lanza did; from start to finish. Lanza's name isn't Glock, or Colt: it's Adam Lanza and all the evidence so far says he was mentally ill, he TOOK guns which didn't belong to him, murdered the owner - his own mother - and then subverted security measures at the school where he committed cold blooded mass murder before killing himself. There's an essay circulating: "I am Adam Lanza's Mother" by Liza Long - do a google search and you'll find it. This woman has a mentally ill son, she describes the danger and agonizing struggles she's faced due to her son's mental illness. She begs for help - because there has been none coming from the "professional community" or from any public program. Why does publish Dr. Baker, purveyor of red herrings, and not such original source essay's as Liza Long's?; some private party hoping to strike while our emotions are in tumult decided to get a petition supporting gun control out before we've had time to collect our thoughts. Again, we can "thank"'s publisher and editors for their "public service"- providing a handy link to this odious petition. People have told me they've dropped AnnArbor. com because of lesser gaffs and I see reader comments criticizing's journalistic laxity. Now I believe.


Mon, Dec 17, 2012 : 6:41 p.m.

@Tru2Blu76: "Guns didn't cause this grievous tragedy: Adam Lanza did; from start to finish." This is not entirely accurate, in my opinion. Adam having access to an assault rifle, having access to large magazines and anti-personnel ammo did to a large degree facilitate and provided him with the "tools" to do the things he did last Friday. If Adam was only armed with a bolt-action rifle holding maybe five rounds and a single action revolver, he could not have created the level of carnage that the para-military hardware he carried was designed to inflict upon other humans. You cannot separate this fact from the events, as it is a part of the record of events. However, you slice it; it is Adam Lanzas having access to the aforementioned items that made the carnage possible. No assault rifle, no banana clips or drum magazines, no double-digit pistol magazines, and this is could have been a vastly different outcome. Would not having access totally averted the tragedy is unknown or unlikely. Nevertheless, a few families would have likely remained intact. I posed this as a gun owner, and a registered handgun owner (my father's revolver he carried as a Marine MP and Indiana State Trooper). I cannot contemplate any scenario where I would need any of the items he carried into the school. If those items were needed, we would likely be referring back to the first part of the 2nd Amendment that is frequently dismissed by the NRA and the like – a Well Regulated Militia.


Mon, Dec 17, 2012 : 4:43 p.m.

Portion reposted from another topic: Active shooters are like fires, every minute that response is delayed the tragedy grows exponentially. if you had a small fire would you wish that a fire extinguisher was at hand so you could stop it, or would you rather sit and wait trapped with it until firefighters arrived? Teacher and children waited to die feeling helpless. That's what gun control has done. Why don't we talk about the mentally ill who caused these tragedies instead? Is it because it's too easy for this to be the catalyst to restrict EVERYONE's civil rights? That HIPPA would have to be set aside? That it's EASIER to demonize a thing and a take rights from a segment of our population that didn't do any harm?