| | Advanced Search


Monfredo: Former Worcester Public School Member Publishes Book—A professional manual for students and professionals

QCC 50th, Celebrating Students: Ato Howard—A Biomedical Engineering student on the rise

MA Beauty Insider: Pedi Nation – Get the Best Pedicure Ever—A guide to finding a pristine pedi place

Fit for Life: Fail to Plan? Plan to Fail—Plan and prioritize, and you will prevail

Tom Finneran: Running on Envy—America's doctors run the gauntlet of envy

Arthur Schaper: Justina: Still Not Free—The crusade continues

Central MA Up + Comer: Vision Advertising CEO Laura Briere—Meet Central MA's rising stars...

FlyORH: Vote for Worcester in JetBlue Contest—Supporting ORH and JetBlue....

Catch the Moscow Festival Ballet With Your WOO Card—Where will you be WOOing this weekend?

Acclaimed Author Leah Hager Cohen to Give Reading at Holy Cross—Will read from new novel 'No Book but…


Rob Horowitz: Sandy Hook Tragedy a Chance for Common Sense Gun Legislation

Thursday, December 20, 2012


The most moving part of President Obama’s remarks Sunday at a memorial service held at the Sandy Hook Elementary School was when he simply read aloud the names of the 20 young children and 6 school personnel that were gunned down there on Friday morning.

In the same remarks, Obama asked this important fundamental question, “Can we honestly say that we are doing enough to keep our children—all of them—safe from harm?”

Very few, if any of us, will answer “Yes.” As a result, in the wake of another and even more horrific killing that fits the all too familiar pattern of a ‘mentally disturbed young man’ using a high-powered gun firing many bullets per minute to mow down innocents, a window has now opened at least a crack for a national policy response that can lessen the number of future ‘Sandy Hooks’ and reduce the gun violence that still plagues our nation.

While it is the case that these kinds of well-publicized tragedies usually have only small and temporary impacts on public opinion, the scale of what occurred in Newtown, Connecticut combined with the fact that the victims were mainly young elementary school children is likely to strike a more lasting chord in American hearts and minds. Some early signs that this time it will be different is that strong pro-gun Senators and House members ducked interview requests over the weekend and Conservative commentators such as Britt Hume and William Bennett on network Sunday shows acknowledged a need for some regulation of assault weapons as part of an over-all comprehensive solution.

Still, achieving any real progress remains an uphill fight requiring a well-funded, sustained, strategically smart and focused public education and legislative campaign. Over the past 20 years, public opinion has moved steadily towards a pro gun rights position. In a Pew Research Center poll conducted this past April, 49 percent of Americans said it was more important to protect the gun rights of Americans, while 45 percent said it was more important to control gun ownership. Similarly, Gallup reports a majority of Americans prefer keeping existing gun laws or weakening them over putting in place stricter gun control laws. Contrast this with the early 1990s when nearly four out of five Americans were for stricter gun laws, according to Gallup.

Further, the National Rifle Association (NRA)--the most potent and effective lobbying and grassroots political organization in the nation—is already gearing up for an all out effort to block any new proposed restrictions on guns that emerge from this tragedy.

The best opportunity to succeed is to frame new legislative and executive action as a targeted policy response to limit “future Sandy Hooks’—rather than as a traditional gun control measure. The legislative proposal should combine specific steps to better identify and treat people with serious mental illnesses with narrowly tailored measures to strengthen and enforce the existing background check system for gun purchasers, ban the sale of semi-automatic and automatic weapons that can quickly fire multiple rounds, and close the gun show loophole that allows people at gun shows to buy guns without any background checks.

Success also depends on launching a well-funded and aggressive public education and lobbying campaign—one that builds a broad coalition that prominently features police and other members of law enforcement as well as gun owners who recognize the need for common sense measures. It will be important to repeatedly reassure people that nobody’s Second Amendment rights will be taken away. With this kind of campaign, the President and Congressional members such as Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA), the chief sponsor and advocate for the now expired Assault Weapons Ban who is planning to introduce new legislation on the first day of the New Congress, will be better able to persuade their colleagues that the time to act is now before we bury more of our kids.

Rob Horowitz is a strategic and communications consultant who provides general consulting, public relations, direct mail services and polling for national and state issue organizations, various non-profits and elected officials and candidates. He is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Rhode Island.


Related Articles


Enjoy this post? Share it with others.


Iron Mike Farquhar

Rob, if you really thought ANY part of Obama's Newtown speech was 'moving', - then you are predisposed to believe ANYthing he will ever say.

The speech I heard – on all channels – was a purely politically opportunistic attempt to seize upon a tragedy and warp it for his political agenda – world government.

The very term 'assault rifle' is a left-wing misnomer. This is a country founded by armed citizens fed up with the despotic actions of a dictatorial king. We owe our FREEDOMS to their courage, - and their GUNS!

And for some 60+ years the left has tried very hard to restrict our RIGHTS to be the 'well-regulated militia' our Founders intended and expected us to be. They understood it was ONLY the well-regulated militia that stood between overbearing government and the People's Rights and Freedoms.

The Obama government is well on its way to being ENTIRELY overbearing. Obama cares about gun violence? HA! Let him have Holder and Napolitano tell us about gun smuggling into Mexico and Syria.

If YOU are personally afraid of guns, - gun-phobic – just say so. Don't project your fears onto the rest of us honest, law-abiding citizens.

The NRA is hardly your enemy. They are fundamental with maintaining that well-regulated militia. 270,000,000 guns yesterday – killed nobody. Guns don't kill – sick, evil, and angry people do.

If you want to 'keep kids safe', - do something meaningful about the 3,000+ daily murders by abortion, the yearly harvest of kids by repeat drunk drivers, the daily abuse of kids by pedophiles – who are often paroled back into neighborhoods.

DO SOMETHING about Truth-in-Sentencing – where those – including MINORS who commit crimes with guns get to serve full and lengthy sentences, with NO SEALED RECORDS.

Today we don't know what Adam Lanza did in his youth – any records will STAY sealed. HOW MANY OTHER ADAMS are lurking in sealed juvenile records? Do something about that!

Tax Payer Citizen

Mr. Horowitz should do research before he decides to write about a subject he clearly knows nothing about.
First off, the shooter had an AR15 which is far from being a high powered rifle. Second, gun bands and added gun laws do not remove the guns that citizens already own. The only thing that can reduce the risk of this kind of tragedy happening again is to remove the gun free zones. This may seem radicle to some however the principle at the school and many teachers had advanced warning before the shooter got to the students. If any of the teachers or the Principle had been armed, the shooter might have never gotten to the kids. Still a tragedy, but with far less lives lost. If a gun ban and/or new laws had been passed even a month before this happened, the shooters mother still would have had her guns and the tragedy would have unfolded exactly the same way. This is something you will not hear from the media because they do not like the solution because it does not fit into their liberal agenda.

Stephen Quist

mike you are really getting far out there.........
Mr.Horowitz if anything the solution is to help the people dealing with mental illnesses like the previous last 4 mass killers and get them the needed help they desperately need that the republiCants cut from the budgets and the additional impending cuts on the way.
The second thing which makes all the sense in the world is to train and arm teachers to defend their school children, themselves and staff.........the answer is not less guns - the answer is to not infringe whatsoever on our guarenteed Constituional Rights!

Iron Mike Farquhar

Hypocrisy Quist! Earlier THIS WEEK Dwayne Moore was sentenced to 4 LIFE terms for executing 4 home invasion victims in the street. One was 2 years old.

Michael 'Mucko' McDermott sits in prison doing LIFE - laughing at us. He killed 7 at Edgewater Technology – exactly 12 years ago.

Robert [Michelle] Kosilek is serving LIFE - and DEMANDING that you pay for his sex-change operation. He didn't use a gun – he STRANGLED his wife.

Millionaire Harvard Med School [cross-dressing] dermatologist Richard Sharpe got LIFE for shooting his wife in the face – with a hunting rifle. Thankfully, he hung himself in prison.

Want to get serious about 'protecting kids'? Bring the Death Penalty back to this ooey-gooey liberal state!

Stephen Quist

oh yeah the death penalty answer..... how many have been executed that were innocent?
So to prevent murders we need state sanctioned murders?
Why not just do what the taliban do and bury people up to their chests and stone them to death....would that suffice?
If this so called "ooey-gooey liberal state" is not to your liking then why are you still here?
I stand by my posts

Write your comment...

You must be logged in to post comments.