Few Americans will ever forget the haunting and heartbreaking stories from the mass shootings in Aurora, Colorado and Newtown, Connecticut.
A month after Newtown, many are blaming the high capacity weapons the shooters used in both incidents.
“I’m a firm believer in the Second Amendment and I think people should have the right to buy whatever firearms they want. But I think there needs to be some controls on the assault type weapons,” said Herbert Schoffner, who lives in York County.
Part of President Obama’s gun control plan released Wednesday called for banning tactical weapons. However, some police officers say it’s not the guns that are the real problem.
“We’re dealing with people that are stealing the firearm or getting it through illegal means. There’s mandatory minimums that are in place when people use a firearm in a crime, and it’s one of the first things that’s thrown out the window during plea bargaining,” said Chief Wes Kahley of the York City Police Department.
Kahley said of the 11 homicides in York City in 2012, none were commited with assault rifles.
“They’re out there, we run into them, of course they’re scary weapons. But to me what should be addressed is how illegal guns are being put on our streets,” Kahley said.
Another issue, Kahley said, is guns getting into the hands of people who are mentally ill.
“We have a lot of issues even as police departments when we deal with someone with mental health issues in trying to get information to best serve that person to best protect society…because the individual’s rights are put before society’s rights,” he said.
While he chief said he’s not against the President’s plan, there are far more issues that need to be touched upon before banning certain guns.
“There’s so many cultural issues here taking place in society and so many other issues that need to be addressed,” he said.