WASHINGTON (WKOW) -- The gun control debate is now back in the conversation after the Connecticut school shooting. Some are calling for stricter gun laws, others say it won't change the culture of violence in America.
On Saturday, President Obama addressed the nation saying we have to come together and take "meaningful action" to prevent more tragedies like the mass shooting that killed 26 people inside Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
Speaking to the Newtown community on Sunday, the president said the nation can't tolerate shootings and made a commitment to change.
"In the coming weeks, I'll use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens, from law enforcement, to mental health professionals, to parents and educators, in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this, because what choice do we have? We can't accept events like this as routine," Obama says.
Some lawmakers want to ban assault rifles, like the kind police say Adam Lanza used at the elementary school, to prevent mass shootings.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) has been virtually silent since the shooting, but demonstrators rallied outside the NRA's Washington office Monday, chanting "shame on the NRA". The group is calling for stronger gun laws.
But some gun owners in our area don't believe more gun control will stop shootings.
Brett Fankhauser, a safety instructor and gun seller with Deerfield Pistol & Archery Center says semi-automatic weapons aren't more dangerous than other guns, and buyers go through an extensive background check before a purchase.
"It's a no different gun than say your hunting platform gun with the exception that it carries a higher capacity magazine," says Fankhauser.
Fankhauser says guns that some people may consider to be assault rifles are used every day by hunters and sportsmen. He says at a small shop like Deerfield Pistol, employees won't sell a gun if they don't feel comfortable about a customer.
Kevyn Quamme, a board member at the North Bristol Sportsman's Club, believes stricter laws will just hurt the majority of gun users, who are safe.
"Having gun control is only going to affect the law-abiding citizen and it's not going to make any difference or any impact on the people that don't pay attention to the laws to begin with," says Quamme.
Instead, Quamme believes a culture change is needed-- moving away from violence that is so prevalent on TV and in movies. These gun owners believe putting guns in the right hands can prevent tragedies like mass shootings, and encourage training at an early age.
President Obama can tighten gun control laws without approval from Congress. Reuters reports that the president has the power to issue executive orders to improve background checks on gun buyers, ban certain gun imports and increase dealer oversight.
Analysts say he's more likely to do that now, because he doesn't have to be concerned with alienating voters before an election.
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