Few sparks fly amid public discussion on gun control
Reporter: Maggie Vespa
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Gun control.
No matter what side of the aisle you're on, it's a debate that has the country and communities like Tucson divided.
While Monday night's discussion covered a cornucopia of questions, for most at Loft Cinema, it was the feature presentation.
"Probably most concerned about gun control issue," said one attendee.
"What the city can do to help protect restaurants and schools and night clubs and public facilities," said another.
And even among the dozens of pre-submitted prompts, the one pertaining to this topic was the only one that garnered answers from all.
"I would like to see us stop permitting gun shows until we get our arms around the person to person sales," said city councilman Steve Kozachik (R-Ward 6), who organized the forum.
"In our schools, rather than seeing armed guards show up, I'd rather see a lot more counselors show up," said State Senator David Bradley (D-Tucson).
"This is about protecting children and citizens," said State Senator Olivia Cajero Bedford (D-Tucson).
The longest answer came from a politician for whom gun control is personal.
"A young man who was clearly disturbed undiagnosed and untreated with a gun that had a magazine with thirty bullets in it, I saw that in less than 45 seconds, he shot 19 people," described Congressman Ron Barber (D-Tucson), who was one of 13 wounded that day. "Six of them died."
And it was during Barber's expanded opinion on the 2nd amendment, that the night's only outburst came.
"There are restrictions on the types of weapons that are allowed in any of our homes," he said, prompting an audience member to yell, "Liar!"
Barber responded, "Well, you know I think that's probably an inappropriate way to respond. I'll be happy to talk about it with you later because it is in fact, the truth."
And as quickly as it started, the disruption was diffused, with plea to steer clear of the type discourse that many said led to the tragic events of that day.
"I think we came here for civil discussion, not that kind of exchange," said Barber. "I haven't called you anything."
The audience applauded.
In the end, no votes were taken. No items were passed.
But the consensus was that discussions like this are long overdue.
"I think it's great idea," said one audience member. "I think it's a good start, to get the ball rolling."
"Maybe they should hear what we have to say," said another. "I think Tucson has an opinion."