WHAT YOU SAID: Will tougher gun laws reduce mass shootings?

Here's what you told us
Posted at 8:00 AM, Oct 06, 2017

Most of us woke up Monday morning to the terrible news of the massacre in Las Vegas. A shooter firing from 32 stories up in a hotel killed at least 59 people and wounded 527 attending an outdoor concert.

Conversations naturally turned to the question of what we can do about the recurrent problem of mass shootings and gun violence in America.  

So our What You Said question this week was: Do you think tougher federal gun laws would reduce the number of mass shootings? 

It's a heated issue and we received hundreds of comments.

Many agreed with Brian Helton, who emailed:

Tighter gun laws only restrict law abiding citizens from buying guns. Criminals don't buy guns legally. 

And with Jim Turner and Jason Winchester, who wrote on Facebook that the problem is people, not guns:

And many of you, like Chuck Lee, mentioned the gun violence that still occurs in Chicago despite gun laws there:


But opinions were just as strong in favor of new gun laws. Jason Chambers said driving is more regulated than guns:


Nancy Gau emailed that we just need to do something:

Yes, I do think tougher laws would reduce mass shootings. It worked in Australia. Just make machine guns illegal (for everyone but police or military). I can't see where the NRA or anyone else has come up with anything that has reduced these shootings so we have to try something. We do still value life in this country don't we?

Some of you suggested alternatives to gun legislation and others urged (gasp!) compromise. 

Brent Silvers suggested restricting ammunition purchases and paying more attention to mental health problems from which people suffer:

Instead of gun control how about a system of monitoring how much ammo someone is buying and what type? There is also a serious mental health issue that is at the root of these killings. There are more people out there than one would be believe who are being heavily medicated for mental issues! 

Terri Gossett urged politicians to find common ground:

I can think of two legitimate reasons to own a gun: self-defense and hunting. Are semi-automatic guns required to meet those two needs? No. I live in a rural area and we have many gun owners in our area, and that doesn't bother me at all. I'm also a Republican, and I don't understand why this is a partisan issue. Not everything has to be. I look forward to the day when we can look past party lines and find common ground on issues like these. Keep guns legal, and ban, or highly limit, accessibility to semi-automatic weapons.

Melinda Blount tried to inject common sense into the debate:

And Dave Disney, despite being a long-time hunter, suggested some restrictions on weapons and gun modifications:

As said many times before, the weapon of choice be it gun or knife does not commit the crime. It all revolves around a particular individual and their state of mind. Understand I am a hunter and shooter for some 50 yrs now. I am pro gun and pro hunting. With that in mind I need to say that as far as class 3 weapons and the so called kits that modify semi auto to full auto, I honestly feel that we need to tighten the ability to purchase these items. 

Tammy Abner suggested tighter security at hotels:

I think we should have our bags checked for weapons when checking in a hotel. 

And several of you, like Bob Peterson, said Americans should take a hard look at themselves to get at the root of the violence problem:

Ivey Hedges wrote that we need to pay attention to each other:

Our country has a heart problem not a gun problem. Guns are not firing by themselves. Behind every shooting there's a person with a wounded heart. We need to pay closer attention to this around us.

And Kristian (no last name) said the U.S. stands alone in the level of gun violence:

I have had the privilege to travel all over the world. This country is consumed by a gun culture that has many people in other countries shaking their heads in astonishment. The second amendment was conceived and written at a time when it took sixty seconds to load and fire a weapon. Today they fire sixty bullets a second. A culture that does not adapt will perish.

Next week, we'll ask your opinion on another topic. In the meantime, you can go to our Facebook page or Twitter and share your thoughts there. You can also share your thoughts here. You can share your opinions in the form of text, photos, video, drawings or audio recordings.

And take a look at our Feedback Friday page for another way to express your what's on your mind.