The recent tragedies in Newtown, Connecticut and other cities in the United States have renewed and intensified the debate concerning gun control. And, that debate can often be a personal one.
In 2011 a man who purchased a firearm through loopholes in Illinois’ gun laws gunned down Jitka Vessel in the Oak Brook Mall parking lot. Her friends Theresa O’Rourke and Amy Garcia are now gun legislation activists in her memory.
“I also have a constitutional right to vote, but in order for me to exercise my right to vote I have to become a registered voter,” says O’Rourke. “So we can protect our rights under the constitution, but our rights aren’t unlimited.” Pro gun control activists are asking leaders in Washington for reasonable limits concerning gun control.
But, for Connie Roe being pro gun isn’t just a right, it’s her livelihood. She’s the owner of JR Shooting Sports in Aurora where business is booming after the nation’s renewed interest in gun control.
“People need to protect themselves. You can sit around all day and wait for the police to come but you need to protect yourself,” explains Roe. “People are scared they’re going to be losing their gun rights and they’re not going to be able to protect their families.”
After the tragedies in Newtown, Connecticut, Aurora, Colorado, and many others lawmakers are now focusing on tackling three main issues: closing the private seller and gun show loopholes, banning assault weapons, and prohibiting the sale of extended clips.
For Connie Roe this is a slippery slope that stops law-abiding citizens from getting what their rights guarantee them. For Theresa O’Rourke the bigger issue is the danger guns pose to those on the other side of the trigger.
Both sides can agree they’re working toward a safer country for all, but the debate will continue over how exactly we get there.
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