It’s time for school leaders, politicians, Second Amendment advocates and others to come together and find real solutions to reduce gun violence in America, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Friday morning.
“I ask and I beg and I plead — let us make real and rapid progress on that front,” Mr. Duncan said in a speech at Washington, D.C.’s Neval Thomas Elementary School. “We all need to make this personal.”
In his first public remarks since the tragic shooting in Newtown, Conn., last week, Mr. Duncan, a member of President Obama’s task force on gun violence and mental health, said the factors that led shooter Adam Lanza to take 26 lives at Sandy Hook Elementary School are complex, but limiting access to high-powered firearms remains the simplest and easiest solution and one that everyone should agree on.
“I can’t help but wonder what he might have done, how this might have been different, if he didn’t have access to those guns,” said Mr. Duncan, who saw the impact of gun violence first-hand during his time as chief of Chicago public schools.
“Maybe he just would’ve been punching his pillow, and his mother would still be there … and there would be 26 families in Newtown, Conn., who would be celebrating the holidays instead of attending funerals. Unfortunately it’s too late for them, but it’s not too late for America.”
Mr. Duncan’s address comes the same day the National Rifle Association is set to hold its first press conference since the Newtown massacre, a long-awaited address that will offer clues on how tough a fight it may be for gun-control proponents to enact stricter laws. Those gun-control advocates now seek a reinstatement of the assault weapons ban, closing of the so-called “gun show loophole” and limits to high-capacity ammunition clips, such as the ones used by Lanza at Sandy Hook last week.
“Reasonable people should be able to agree on these restrictions,” Mr. Duncan said.