, Salem, MA

Local News

December 19, 2012

Newtown tragedy sparks gun debate


“These are planned attacks that are planned over months, and waiting periods do not work,” said Speliotis, who said it is better to focus on the types of weapons being used.

“Last Friday has made everyone think about these issues,” said state Rep. John Keenan of Salem, adding that lawmakers won’t be tackling the issue until after Jan. 1.

“I think Congress has to take a look at that as well,”Keenan said of the lapse of the federal assault weapons ban, given the type of high-capacity weapons used in recent mass shootings.

“People have a right to own a gun,” Keenan said, “but for the life of me, I can’t understand why that type of weapon is called for, for a sportsman. Does someone have a right to own a bazooka?”

The Bay State has tough gun laws, Keenan said, but “that’s not to say we can’t look further. The unfortunate thing is it takes a tragedy like this to get the discussion going.”

State Rep. Brad Hill, R-Ipswich, said he is not familiar with the ins and outs of Gov. Patrick’s gun control initiatives, and he cautioned against a “knee-jerk reaction” to the Newtown incident. Other issues are at play, he said, including those related to the mental health of the shooter. Hill wants to hear from public safety officials first, “before we legislate changes.”

State Rep. Jerry Parisella, D-Beverly, said the question to be addressed is, “what’s reasonable. What’s a reasonable firearm, what’s a reasonable clip?” Parisella said it will be a balancing act to protect gun owners’ constitutional rights and protect public safety.

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.




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