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Connecticut school shooting: Feinstein urges ‘thoughtful debate’ on guns

Federal lawmakers from the San Francisco Bay Area reacted with sorrow and resolve following the gun massacre Friday at an elementary school in Connecticut. The shooting left 26 victims dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown – 20 schoolchildren and six adults – along with the gunman and his mother.

A woman holds a child as people line up to enter Newtown Methodist Church near the scene of an elementary school shooting in Connecticut.
Douglas Healey/Getty Images

“I am horrified and incensed by today’s tragedy in Connecticut. These massacres don’t seem to stop – they continue on and on,” U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a San Francisco Democrat, said in a statement.

“When senseless mass shootings reach into our kindergartens and elementary schools, one has to question what is happening to America. … As I have said many times before — and now repeat in the wake of yet another tragedy — weapons of war don’t belong on our streets or in our theaters, shopping malls and, most of all, our schools.

Feinstein said she hoped Congress would undertake “sustained and thoughtful debate” about the U.S. gun culture “and our responsibility to prevent more loss of life.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a San Francisco Democrat, said in a statement: “No words can console the parents of the children murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School or describe the pain and shock of such an unspeakable tragedy. No words can comfort the loved ones of those brutally taken from us today. All Americans share our prayers and our grief over these horrifying events.”

Pelosi added: “The entire nation will continue to stand as a source of support to this community in the days and weeks to come.”

U.S. Rep. George Miller, a Martinez Democrat, offered his condolences to those affected by “this incomprehensible tragedy” and also called for a national dialogue on gun violence.

“Today is for sorrow and prayers. But the days ahead are for serious reflection about how we can reduce the flow of guns into the wrong hands. One mass shooting after another in America is followed by sincere and painful mourning but no real action to protect the innocent,” Miller said in a statement. “We must come together as a nation to honestly discuss how to prevent people intent on carrying out these savage attacks from so easily obtaining guns and ammunition.”

U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, a Hillsborough Democrat, took to Twitter to share statistics about gun violence in the wake of the “unspeakable tragedy.”

  • Every year, only about 200 legally justified self-defense homicides are carried out by private citizens, compared with more than 30,000 other gun deaths.
  • The 5,740 U.S. children killed by guns in 2008-09 would fill 229 classes of 25 kids each.
  • Among 23 populous, high-income countries, 80 percent of all firearms deaths happen in the U.S.

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