Newtown’s Own Gun-Control Law Couldn’t Pass

Eric Mueller places twenty seven wooden angles he made in his yard down the street from the Sandy Hook School December 16, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut. Twenty-six people were shot dead, including twenty children, after a gunman identified as Adam Lanza opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

As lawmakers call for bans on assault weapons and President Barack Obama considers introducing a ban on high-capacity magazines in the wake of the Newtown shootings, it turns out the town of Newtown had argued amongst itself over controlling guns locally. Those urging more restrictions lost. The New York Times reports that as Newtown’s gun enthusiasts took to unlicensed gun ranges to shoot at explosive targets, and as gunfire complaints doubled over the last year, some in the town had tried to introduce some pretty benign-sounding regulations to curb the dangerous behavior.

One defeated effort “would have imposed additional constraints on shooting, including limited hours, and a requirement that any target shooting range, and the firearms that would be used there, be approved by the chief of police to make sure they were safe.” The popular opposition was overwhelming, with pro-gun residents crowding a city council committee meeting where a spokesman from the Newt0wn-based National Shooting Sports Foundation reportedly said, “no safety concerns exists.” It’s not like the law could have stopped Friday’s shooting, but in so vehemently defeating it, Newtown worked as a microcosm for the national conversation about gun control, at least as it had been happening before Friday.