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School shooting: Americans 'want to protect themselves'

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Published on Dec 19, 2012

As Barack Obama backs a ban on assault weapons in the US in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook massacre, gun owners fear the impact of new restrictions, but anti-gun campaigners welcome them.

President Obama's decision to publicly support new legislation being proposed by senior Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein came two days after he called for "change" at a memorial service for the 20 child victims of the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, USA.

White House spokesman, Jay Carney, said the president was "actively supportive" of the proposed legislation, which would ban weapons like the Bushmaster .223 that coroners said had claimed the majority of the young victims' lives.

At a rally in Washington DC, anti-gun campaigners called for a nationwide debate on the issue. Sandy Phillips, whose daughter Jessica Ghawi was killed in the Colorado cinema shootings said: "You are not immune. Don't fool yourselves. When you are no longer safe to go to a church, go to the grocery store, go to the movies, or enter a school, there is something horribly wrong."

But Gun Owners of America's Communications Director Erich Pratt does not believe that new restrictions are the answer, and insists that the outcome of the shooting would have been different if teachers were armed. "We think that those that are the potential victims, they need to be the first responders to be able to stop the bad guys."

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