Colorado theater shootings revive debate over gun laws
Sen. Antenori: The left exploiting tragedy for political gain
Reporter: Claire Doan
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – It happens after every mass shooting: Columbine, Virginia Tech., January 8, and right now – in the wake of the Colorado theater shootings. People are getting fired up – yet again – after New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg called for stricter gun laws and for presidential contenders to outline their position.
But is this the right time to discuss the issue? Or are people cashing in for political gain?
Although the chorus of voices for stricter gun laws may be loud, these tragedies have not sparked much legislative change.
Some believe this shooting proves the current laws aren’t working, while others believe this isn’t the time to target gun control.
“Every time I walk into a store and I hear a loud noise, I shudder. Immediately it takes me back to January 8,” said Kenneth Dorushka, whom Jared Lee Loughner shot in the arm.
Dorushka has been working with the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns – headed by Bloomberg – to crack down on gun sales to criminals and the mentally disabled, among others. He told KGUN9 News the debate isn’t about gun control, but rather stopping those people who shouldn’t have guns from getting them.
“Literally any nut-job and apparently several have gone out to purchase weapons and things kinds of things are prone to happen,” Dorushka said. “This is something everybody ought to be in favor of whether you are for or against guns. It’s got nothing to do with right and wrong.”
But Republican State Senator Frank Antenori said his is the left making a predictable, exploitive move.
“[The idea is] You don’t always let a good tragedy to go waste and exploit its maximum political potential and that’s what these guys are doing. It’s tragic they continue to do this. If I were to do something like this, they would be screaming bloody murder.”
Antenori said recognizing and getting help for the mentally ill is a better solution than targeting gun owners.
“Just because someone either breaks the law or somebody that’s mentally ill who goes out and does something despicable or tragic – isn’t an excuse to go after other people’s individual liberties,” Antenori argued, adding that people who are mentally unstable will find a way to hurt others even without guns.
“But they shouldn’t have the freedom to walk into a sporting goods store or a Walmart to obtain those weapons,” Dorushka said. “I would hope that we could get sensitive legislation in place so that we could at least reduce the possibility of this happening.”
Part of the reason gun control advocates have faced an uphill battle: the shift in public opinion. A recent Gallup poll shows that Americans who want stricter gun laws dropped about 25% in the last two decades.