Catholic School President Pushes for Gun Control Discussion in Wake of Elliot Rodger Killing Spree

The president of St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, New York, has called for more discussion on stricter gun control following the May 23 shooting rampage near the University of California at Santa Barbara, where lone gunman Elliot Rodger killed six people before killing himself.

Franciscan Sister Margaret Carney told Catholic News Service that "if Sandy Hook wasn't enough for people to march to their senators and say, 'We need a new (gun control) law tomorrow,'" she said she doesn't know what will make the difference.

Carney was referring to the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, two years ago, where 20-year-old gunman Adam Lanza killed 20 students and six educators before killing himself.

The latest shooting involved 22-year-old Rodger, who killed six people and wounded a dozen in the streets of Isla Vista, California, in May, blaming his lack of success with women for his frustrations. The killer stabbed three of his victims with a knife, but had several legally purchased guns in his possession, some of which he used for the shooting spree.

The Catholic school president said that she watched a news report where the father of one of the victims, Richard Martinez, blamed the lack of gun control in America for the tragedy.

"When will this insanity stop? When will enough people say, 'Stop this madness; we don't have to live like this?' Too many have died. We should say to ourselves: Not one more," the father told reporters.

The National Rifle Association did not respond to phone calls and emails from The Christian Post by press time.

The organization says it supports people's right to own and carry firearms and has argued that responsible gun owners should not be punished for mass shootings, Reuters reported.

The NRA website links to a Fox News opinion piece which points out that even Rodger admitted that his attack could have been stopped by someone else with a gun.

"Rodger's 141-page 'manifesto' makes it clear that he feared someone with a gun could stop him before he was able to kill a lot of people," the article notes.

Carney said that the gun control issue needs to be discussed on college campuses, considering the number of shootings that have taken place on campuses in recent years. She suggested a moderated discussion panel on the role of college presidents in the gun control debate at the annual conference of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities earlier this year.

"Of course college presidents are against gun violence; no one is in favor of that. But where do you stand on Second Amendment rights? That's where conversation starts to fall apart," St. Bonaventure University's president noted.

Public polls on gun control in America have reported mixed results. An October 2013 Gallup poll showed that 49 percent of respondents believe that laws covering the sale of firearms should be more strict, while 13 percent said they should be less strict; 37 percent said they should be kept as they are now.

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