The Ottumwa Courier

AP National

September 20, 2013

Gov't gets poor marks on protecting gun rights

(Continued)

The survey was conducted Aug. 12-29, prior to the mass shooting this week at the Washington Navy Yard that left 13 people dead, including the gunman.

In the aftermath of the shooting, Americans of all stripes spoke with sorrow about the latest deaths. But many opponents of gun control said tighter laws could make things worse, while those who support tighter laws said it was another sign that action is overdue.

Mike Kaplon, an accounting and economics student from Morristown, N.J., said gun-control advocates haven't made a good case that new laws would reduce gun violence. He decided to get active in opposing gun control after last year's mass shooting of first-graders at a school in Newtown, Conn.

"There's always going to be a nut job able to get a gun," said Kaplon, who identifies himself as a Republican-leaning libertarian. "It happens. It's life."

Walden Miller, a 57-year-old Democrat from Louisville, Colo., thinks the government is safeguarding Second Amendment rights a little too much.

"They are protecting the rights quite well," he said with a laugh. "I think there should be more control over the availability and licensing of guns — which is the opposite."

Laverne Hawkins, 60, a Democratic retiree in Milwaukee who does baby-sitting, was frustrated that President Barack Obama hadn't done more to stanch gun violence.

"I love the president, don't get me wrong, but I just don't feel like he's standing up like he should with getting all this violence straightened out," she said.

Obama made a big push for tighter gun laws after the Newtown shooting. But the legislation fell flat in Congress and has been stalled ever since.

After Monday's shooting at the Navy Yard, the president's spokesman said Obama remained committed to strengthening gun laws. But there was little expectation of movement in Congress.

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