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Outcry: National revulsion

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- In gun-loving West Virginia, The Charleston Gazette has been almost a lone voice through the years calling for safety efforts against America's grotesque toll of gun murders and massacres.

But the slaughter of 20 school tots and six teachers in Connecticut has triggered a national wave of horror, disgust, outrage and demands for a crackdown on murder weapons. Here, instead of another Gazette appeal, we offer some reactions by other newspapers:

•••

"Weep for the slain schoolchildren and their devastated families. Weep for the town of Newtown, Conn., scene of the latest mass shooting. Weep for America, where these scenes happen again and again. And then, for God's sake, let us do something about it . . .  . The ease with which a disturbed person in the United States can build an arsenal defies logic. America is not a nation that will be bullied by some political lobby into standing by helplessly after 20 or our children are massacred in their school. We need tougher gun laws and we need them right away." -- Kansas City Star

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"Stay angry. Remember how you felt this weekend. Don't let the faces of those children go until meaningful, actual steps are taken to make this a safer and less violent country . . .  . The primary focus has to be on comprehensive gun laws, on making it more difficult for potential killers to get guns . . .  . National Rifle Association leaders will object. To hell with them. The right to public safety trumps the right to own an arsenal . . .  . Hunters don't want or need assault rifles with military magazines; these have no civilian application. Yet it is a tribute to the power of the gun lobby and the sniveling cowardice of Congress that there have been more than 60 multiple shootings since a member of Congress, Rep. Gabby Giffords, was shot in Arizona in 2011 and no action has been taken." -- Hartford Courant

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"Much as we'd like to see a modicum of sanity in U.S. gun laws, it doesn't seem forthcoming. Liberals from urban states . . . are unlikely to overcome opposition to gun controls from Republicans and moderate Democrats in the Senate. The idea that the Republican-dominated House would do anything to restrict gun ownership is a vain fantasy . . .  . Hug your children and protect them as best you can; politicians are unlikely to do so." -- Los Angeles Times

•••

"Something is dreadfully wrong in America. We have known that, or should have known that, for quite a long time. But each savage attack on a campus or at a shopping mall or in a theater has been rationalized away as the isolated act of one crazed individual. Our national failure to respond in a meaningful way to this drumbeat of death across the land is a burden that each of us will have to contemplate in the private place where each of our consciences resides." -- Biloxi Sun Herald

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"The 300 million weapons at large in this country are owned by a smaller percentage of people than ever before. The number of guns is up, but the number of gun owners is down. Gun violence, overall, is down, but the number of mass killings (four or more random victims) reached a dozen this year . . .  . A national commission can and should focus the spotlight on those who profit from America's gun culture . . .  . We're thinking of the gun lobby itself, which prospers by promoting fears of reasonable gun laws." -- St. Louis Post-Dispatch

•••

"Beware the National Rifle Association. The disproportionately powerful pro-gun lobby . . . has spent decades fighting against even the most commonsense restrictions on gun ownership, including background checks, waiting periods, the banning of high-muzzle-velocity assault rifles that come with handy grenade launchers, the prohibition of large-capacity magazines that make it easier to fire large numbers of rounds more quickly, restrictions on concealed weapons in schools, and so on." -- Toronto Globe & Mail

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"The gun control nerve has been struck with lasting pain this time . . .  . Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Mark Warner of Virginia, both pro-gun Democrats, have called for a rethinking of gun control . . .  . The right to bear arms is backed by the Second Amendment, but that needn't rule out rational steps to curb deadly weapons and ammunition in order to help break the terrible string of mass killings . . .  . The answer is not, as some have suggested, arming teachers. Our nation should have better answers than fighting guns with more guns." -- Fort Worth Star Telegram

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"Republicans and the gun lobby have rabidly opposed any and all gun restrictions, even those that don't impinge on Second Amendment rights . . .  . America is a land of hundreds of millions of guns and of a rabid, well-financed lobby that shrouds its unreason in appeals to individual liberty and freedom from government. But the path to sanity needs to start somewhere." -- New York Times

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"The United States has the highest civilian gun ownership rate in the world, and under the theory of some pro-gun organizations, that should make us the safest country. That isn't how it has worked out. Gun violence is so rife it has been called 'the American disease.' Earlier efforts to rein in gun violence have sputtered. We can't afford to let that happen this time." -- Chicago Sun-Times


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