CT shooting sparks gun control debate in midstate - abc27 WHTM

CT shooting sparks gun control debate in midstate

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The tragic shooting in Connecticut has sparked a debate among midstaters about gun control and whether or not tougher laws could prevent something like this from happening again.

Sandy Hook Elementary school is about 250 miles away from Harrisburg. But the shooting has hit home for so many in central Pennsylvania.

"I think it really hit home even though it was pretty far away," said Amy Gephart, who has a 5-year-old daughter named Rayann. "Prayers can fly far."

That is why Gephart and dozens of other local people held an emotional candlelight vigil for the innocent victims of the Newtown massacre.

"I hope as a nation we come together and find a way to eliminate problems like this," Gephart said.

Some people, like Shira Goodman, executive director for CeaseFirePA, believe the way to do that is through gun control.

"It's time for action," said Goodman. "We've let this go on too long. We really need to have a meaningful conversation and some real reforms in this country that will keep our children and our streets safer."

Goodman and the rest of CeaseFirePA work toward tougher gun laws. That's something second amendment advocates disagree with.

"I have guns," said Scoot Hooven of Hummelstown. "But I don't think anybody should tell me what I have to have or can't have."

"We're not talking about law-abiding gun owners," said Goodman. "We're talking about people who shouldn't have guns. We're talking about illegal guns."

Goodman said there are two ways to combat that. First, strengthening lost and stolen gun reporting laws. But opponents say criminals will find a loophole.

"The criminal, psychos, anybody you wanna say is gonna get a gun," said Hooven. "They're gonna find a way to get a gun."

Goodman said the second thing that can be done to combat gun violence is giving background checks for all gun and ammunition sales. But not everyone thinks that will work.

"Somebody could've just snapped," said Hooven. "They could've had the gun for years and all of a sudden they develop mental issues."

Then, there are some that believe less gun control could have prevented the Connecticut catastrophe.

"There's a good possibility, if one of those teachers was able to carry, had a lock box properly set up where they could get access to it, it could've ended a little earlier than what happened," said Mark Gephart, of Lower Paxton Township. "Hold your family, hug them when you can, because you never know when life is gonna end. You never know."

Regardless of which side of the debate they were on, one thing everyone agreed on is that the Newtown community needs continued support and prayers.

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