Cries for Gun Control After Shootings Yield Few Policy Changes

John Velleco, Gun Owners of America: "Authorities don't know all the facts and already politicians like [New York Democratic Rep. Carolyn] McCarthy are blaming the 2nd Amendment, the Tea Party and far right for the actions of a confused and deranged young man. There is nothing to suggest that more gun control laws would have prevented this … You can't just pass a law every time something bad happens and expect that to solve the problem." (Source: OpenSecrets, 01/11/2011)


An army veteran killed six people and wounded four others during Sunday services at a Sikh temple before being shot dead by a police officer in what was treated by officials as a case of domestic terrorism. The response:

President Obama: "These kinds of terrible and tragic events are happening with too much regularity for us not do some soul-searching and examine additional ways that we can prevent" such violence. (Source: CNN, 08/06/2012)

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg: "The fact that criminals, terrorists and other mentally ill people have access to guns is a national crisis." (Source: CNN, 08/06/2012)

Mitt Romney: Called the slayings "a senseless act of violence and a tragedy that should never befall any house of worship." (Source: CNN, 08/06/2012)

Attorney General Eric Holder: "We should sensibly discuss if there is a need to change our laws, and we should certainly discuss how we might change the hearts of those so filled with hate that the despicable act we mourn today could ever have occurred…For our nation's law enforcement community, our resolve to prevent acts of terrorism and combat crimes motivated by hatred has never been stronger." (Source: New York Magazine, 08/10/2012)

Rev. Jesse Jackson: "It's easy to be polite to say 'We're so sorry this happened' and give the same speech at the next killing a month from now." He added that it was time to move from "politeness to a change in policy." (Source: New York Magazine, 08/10/2012)


A former sociology student at the university entered a lecture hall and murdered five people and inured more than a dozen others before killing himself during a shooting rampage on the DeKalb, Illinois campus. The response:

Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.): "The perpetrator might have thought twice before they went into a situation like that and opened fire had our citizens had the right to have a concealed weapon… It wasn't until the individual at NIU turned the gun on himself that the killing stopped, and perhaps it would have stopped sooner had there been a security guard present or had there been somebody with a concealed weapon." (Source: Chicago Tribune, 02/15/2008)

State Rep. Edward Acevedo (D): "What's going to happen when someone pulls out a hairbrush that someone else thinks is a gun? Are we going to turn this state into the Wild West, where everybody gets to carry guns? … These weapons are made for mass destruction and war – they don't belong on the streets of Illinois… They are made to kill mass amounts of people. You don't need these kinds of weapons to do any kind of sport hunting." (Source: Chicago Tribune, 02/15/2008


A gunman shot and killed more than 30 people and wounded more than a dozen others before committing suicide at the Blacksburg, Virginia school. It was later revealed that the gunman had a documented anxiety disorder, yet he was able to purchase weapons. **The revelation prompted the passage of a bipartisan gun law aimed at preventing seriously mentally ill people from purchasing guns. The legislation was originally introduced by New York Democrats Sen. Charles Schumer and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy in 2002, but it didn't gain enough support to pass until after the Virginia Tech incident. The response:

Shooting survivor Colin Goddard: "I assumed we did everything we could to keep guns out of the hands of someone who should never have them. I was shocked to learn that we don't." (Source: Houston Chronicle, 06/03/2012)

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-New York), sponsor of gun-control law: Says it will "close the wide gaps in our nation's firearm background-check system to ensure violent criminals and the mentally ill no longer slip through the cracks and gain access to dangerous weapons." (Source: Los Angeles Times, 01/08/2008)

Then-WhiteHouse spokesman Tony Fratto: "We saw with the terrible shootings at Virginia Tech last year that an incomplete system can have tragic consequences." (Source: Los Angeles Times, 01/08/2008)

Kristen Rand, legislative director of the Violence Policy Center: There was "far more bad in this bill than good," expressing concern about a provision that could restore gun-owning privileges to some people now prohibited from purchasing firearms. (Source: Los Angeles Times, 01/08/2008)

Then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California): "As the Virginia Tech shooting reminded us, there is an urgent national need to improve the background check system" to keep guns out of the hands of those barred from buying them. (Source: CBS News, 02/11/2009)

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