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Chris Lugo: Time to re-examine gun control

The shooting spree at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church has resulted in murder charges being filed against Jim D. Adkisson, 58, an out-of-work truck driver charged with the killing of two people and the wounding of six others during a children’s musical at the church Sunday morning. Chris Lugo responds to that news and the issue of crime and gun control.

Many Tennesseans were stunned to hear the news that yesterday morning at 10:18 a.m. a lone gunman walked into a welcoming congregation in Knoxville and opened fire on the congregants who were gathered in anticipation of watching their children perform a scene from the musical “Annie” as part of the morning services, killing two people and shooting several more in the head before being tackled to the ground. That church, the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, is a beacon of joy and hope in East Tennessee. Its congregation is made up of some of the most loving, kind and gentle people in the fine city of Knoxville, and the horrific tragedy which was visited upon that church is a wakeup call to good people throughout Tennessee to re-examine our approach to gun control in Tennessee and throughout this nation.

Sadly this is not the first nor the last example of guns in churches, schools and public spaces being used to kill innocent men, women and children. In the past decade alone, dozens of people have been killed in our nations schools, churches and public gathering places by people who had obtained guns legally and illegally with the sole intention of killing unarmed civilians. The public school shooting rampage phenomenon started here in the South only a decade ago when two students in Jonesboro, Arkansas opened fire on their fellow middle school students killing five and wounding eleven. Since that time our nation has witnessed school shootings in over a dozen states with victims numbering in the hundreds. There have also been shootings at shopping malls and church shootings in the past year in Texas, Colorado and now Tennessee.

Unfortunately, in many of these cases, the guns that were used in the commission of felony first degree homicides were obtained legally. Either the guns were in possession of parents who were not able to keep the guns from the access of their children, or in some cases rifles were used. In many states there are no laws regarding the use of these weapons by minors. In other cases guns were obtained illegally. No matter how the gun was obtained, it was used in the commission of a crime against men, women and children who lost their parents, children or grandchildren as was the case today in Knoxville.

I cannot imagine the horror of the children yesterday watching as their parents were shot in front of them, but this incident further illustrates to me the need for effective gun control regulations at the federal level. The fact is that guns kill people and in the United States they kill a lot of people. The United States has the highest per capita murder rate in the developed world, with 14 people per 100,000 dying of gun violence each year. This adds up to nearly 10,000 people a year who die at the hands of a gun, not including the additional 16,000 suicides that happen each year with the use of a gun. This is nearly thirty three times the number of Americans who have been killed in Iraq since the beginning of the war.

The recent Supreme Court ruling on the second amendment by the Bush and Reagan stacked court insures that our nation’s cities can continue to live in perpetual fear of similar incidents happening around the nation as what happened in Knoxville on Sunday. Cities are already scrambling to deal with the chilling new reality handed down by the Supreme Court this summer, which seems to mean that it is open season for every crazy person who can get their hands on a gun in our nation’s urban centers.

There is a solution though, and it is up to Congress to exercise the political will to make a decision to pass laws which place strict limits on gun ownership and to hold gun sellers strictly accountable for who they sell their products to. We have a responsibility to protect our children and our nation’s citizens have a right to live free of the fear of being visited with violence as they go about their daily lives of working, shopping and worshiping as they choose. As a candidate for federal office I believe that federal government has the responsibility to place strict limits on gun ownership in this country. Gun rights advocates argue that guns make us safe, but I believe that a heavily armed nation is a dangerous place to live. It is time to make our country safe for our children. Now is the time for comprehensive gun control for a safer America.

Chris Lugo
Chris Lugohttp://www.chris4senate.org/
Chris Lugo is a peace activist who has been involved in the movement for peace and global justice for twenty years. He is currently seeking the Green Party nomination for US Senate in Tennessee.


  1. If I am reading your article correctly you are arguing that we should impose greater restrictions on gun owners? Am I reading this correctly?

    When the innocents no longer have the right to bear arms who will protect them…the government? The police? So I suspect if someone should ever break into my house should I just wait around while they take advantage of my home and family?

    Finally I do like you brought up that amount of YEARLY death by guns is more than Iraq. There are other stats that show similar things…maybe Iraq isnt as bad as the liberals make it seem.

  2. Well Chris, I think they should allow guns in Church, Universities and many other places they are currently banned. Perhaps if a member of the congregation had been armed, only ONE person might have died, or maybe he would have thought twice about entering an establishment where there’s a good chance someone is armed. That’s why you rarely hear of many armed robberies or shooting sprees at gun shops, gun shows, or shooting ranges. Criminals aren’t as stupid as they once were. David, you never cease to suprise me. You’re not a LIBERAL!!!! Seriously, you need to come out of the conservative closet, there’s a BUNCH of us out here!

  3. Chris,what are you thinking? I have to agree with the previous commentor, “the only people left with guns will be the criminals.”
    Have you ever been the victim of a home invasion? Waking up to the sounds of a struggle,witnessing my husband being choked by an intruder has changed my mind about having a gun. I now own one. The next person that believes they can come into my home and threaten the life of someone I love will be dealt with harshly,instead of being released on probation to repeat it again (it was already the second time he did this).
    No sir, you are mistaken! Citizens must be allowed to defend themselves!

  4. This is a generalization, but none the less I am going to use it.

    The main difference between TRUE liberals and TRUE conservatives is that liberals believe that the government is the answer and conservatives want to limit governments involvement in our lives.

    I believe that anyway who wants to distort the right to bear arms is a liberal and looks to the government for their answers. The problem is the government does very little well. Corporate America has always come up with better and more efficient solutions for problems.

    Chris has yet to discuss the other side of Gun Control. Who will defend the weak, poor, and unfortunate?

    The police? The government?


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