HUNTSVILLE, Ala.(WHNT)-Local advocates for both gun owner rights and gun control said Wednesday's remarks by President Obama could be the beginning of a national showdown on firearms.
The president said he would make gun control a "central issue" at the start of his second term after announcing the creation of a task force that will soon submit new firearms proposals to Congress.
Gun rights groups say the reemergence of the gun control debate in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting is based more on politics and emotion than actual facts. But a coalition of gun control groups insist that changes to current firearm laws can no longer wait. Alabama Youth Against Violence is one of dozens of gun control groups who are pushing Congress and the White House for tighter restrictions on firearm sales and ownership.
"We have to do something now," said AYAV Driector Dwayne Thompson. "First of all we have to make it harder...I think some of the legislators who have ignored it or not paying attention are now going to at least take some kind of look at it...I do believe on the assault rifles, military style rifles, there should be some sort of control for the number you can buy, how many you can have in your possession."
But gun owner advocates like Congressman Robert Aderholt (R) said the newfound focus on gun control is nothing more than politicizing a national tragedy. Aderholt has long been a strong defender of Second Amendment rights, and said he won't vote against them.
"Gun control is not necessarily the answer," said Congressman Aderholt. "Some of the children that were killed last Friday are still not even buried yet, and there's this big push for gun control...I think we need to look at other ways to solve this. We need to look at the way we handle mental health in this country. I think that's something we need to look at...To say that if you get rid of guns there will be no more gun violence, I think is the wrong direction to take in this debate."