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February 3, 2013

Gun debate escalates

(Continued)

CONCORD, N.H. —

In contrast, gun advocates held a spirited rally at the Colorado Statehouse to oppose gun control measures and drew more than 100 people last month. They also held a widely-publicized training recently for teachers and school workers who want to carry guns at the workplace.

In Georgia, tea party conservatives have introduced a range of bills that together would effectively allow Georgians to carry weapons anywhere. They also attempt to exempt certain weapons from federal gun control laws.

“We don’t have a single member who thinks we need any new laws on this,” said Ken Baxley, a local tea party leader in southeast Georgia’s Effingham County, said. “When that tragedy happened, our anger was directed at the shooter, not at the guns.”

An Associated Press-GfK poll found last month that 58 percent of Americans felt the gun laws in the United States should be stricter. Among Republicans, 53 percent want the nation’s gun laws to stay as they are, while 2 in 3 women favor stricter gun laws, as do 60 percent of independents.

The fate of new gun legislation on Capitol Hill is uncertain at best. And as tea party activists clamor against any changes, the powerful gun lobby is echoing their argument.

“I think without any doubt, if you look at why our Founding Fathers put (the Second Amendment) there, they had lived under the tyranny of King George and they wanted to make sure that these free people in this new country would never be subjugated again and have to live under tyranny,” Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association said in a congressional hearing last week.

———

Associated Press writers Nicholas Riccardi in Denver and Bill Barrow in Atlanta contributed to this report.

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