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Colo. Shooting Spurs Gun Control Debate

Gun Control Reactions After Colorado Massacre

SOUTHERN TIER (WENY) --  Friday's devastating Colorado shooting has many people asking if stricter gun control laws are needed in the United States.

24-year-old James Holmes is accused of using an AR-15 assault rifle, shotgun and pistol to kill 12 people and injure nearly 60 more in a packed movie theater at the Batman 'The Dark Knight Rises' midnight movie premiere.

Many gun-control advocates are calling on lawmakers and President Obama to restrict some weapon and ammunition purchases.  But gun supporters say this shooting is no excuse to take away people's Second Amendment right.

WENY-TV's Political Analyst, and Elmira College's Associate Professor of Political Science, Dr. Jim Twombly, says it's unlikely the majority of Democrats or Republicans will try to tighten gun rules because of the elections later on this year.  He also says the influence of the National Rifle Association will stifle many gun-control arguments, because of the financial support it provides to many campaigns. 

"You do have a small window of opportunity when tragedies like this occur...the Gabrielle Giffords shooting...Columbine...Virginia Tech, all of those provide an opportunity for the conversation," says Dr. Twombly.  "But if the conversation doesn't take place quick enough, and action doesn't happen soon enough, other issues overwhelm the story."

Twombly says other topics like the economy will slowly rise to the surface as the main talking points for candidates as the weeks wear on.  So far both President Obama and presumed-Repubican candidate Mitt Romney have steered clear of their gun control positions.

Reports show that since Friday, the interest in gun ownership is soaring.  The Colorado Bureau of Investigation has approved background checks for nearly 2,900 people seeking to purchase a firearm over the last three days. That's 25 percent more than average.