Newtown and the NRA

Posted by John Kanelis on

Leave it to Frontline to take on yet another serious hot-button issue head on.

On Jan. 6, the award-winning PBS documentary program goes straight into the belly of the proverbial beast as it looks at the power amassed by the National Rifle Association and its response to the most horrible act of school violence in anyone's memory.

The event occurred in December 2012 at a quiet school in Newtown, Conn. A madman, Adam Lanza, walked into the school and opened fire. He killed 20 first- and second-graders, six educators and then took his own life.

The NRA, the nation's most well-known gun-owner rights group, didn't respond the way many Americans thought -- or believed -- it should respond. Its vice president, Wayne LaPierre, called for more guns in the hands of "qualified security personnel" to prevent future acts of carnage. "The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun," he said, "is with a good guy with a gun."

The debate rages on.

President Obama wanted something done to stop the gun violence. As the Frontline preview illustrates, Obama was visibly shaken when he made a brief statement immediately after the massacre.

He instructed Vice President Biden to form a task force to find some solutions.

On the other side stood the NRA and LaPierre.

They're still facing off today.

The U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment guarantees that Americans have the right to "keep and bear arms." There's little disagreement between the NRA and those who favor gun control. The difference lies in whether any effort to further regulate firearm ownership infringes on that constitutional guarantee. The NRA says it does; gun control advocates argue it doesn't.

Frontline is going to look deeply and carefully at both sides in the search for what progress, if any, has been made to stop further grief and misery at the hands of crazed gunmen.

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