The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

February 16, 2013

In the gun debate, is there common ground?


“We’re very ignorant about mental health issues, violence and what triggers violence in people. We need to talk to the experts. I’m not sure that’s something legislation can fix. I think it’s more about education.”

Norland can’t understand why the mother of the shooter at Sandy Hook would have taken her son to a gun range and provided him access to her gun collection. She also doesn’t understand why that woman, or anyone, needs to have high-powered, rapid-firing weapons that can fire a dozen shots or more before being reloaded.

“I have very strong opinions about guns,” she said. “It’s my belief that there’s no reason in the world for ordinary citizens to have guns that were designed for wars to kill people. The major problem is attitudes in our society and the fears that the gun advocates promote. In my mind, the gun advocates promote fear.

“I think that we as a society need to take a look at is the destructive attitudes we have about guns. You don’t help a troubled child shoot better; you get the guns out of house.”

Norland knows it would be difficult to ban certain guns because there are so many guns that are already out there. A good start would be to restrict gun sales to licensed dealers who are required to do background checks and stop gun sales over the Internet and by unlicensed sellers at gun shows, she said.

“People will have a hissy fit about that, but that’s part of the problem in this country.”

There is one thing that Norland, the guys at the gun range and Blue Earth County’s top law enforcement officers agree on. They all said the media need to take some responsibility for the mass shootings that draw national attention.

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