Details are still surfacing about the horrific elementary school shooting that took place in Newtown, Conn., this morning, but the chorus of voices demanding stricter gun laws in the United States has already begun to drown them out.
Earlier today, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that now is not the time to discuss gun control legislation, the Washington Post reports.
“We’re still waiting for more information about the incident in Connecticut,” Carney said in response to a question about whether or not the massacre raised questions about gun policy. “I’m sure [there] will be rather a day for discussion of the usual Washington policy debates, but I don’t think today is that day.”
Not everyone agrees. The Huffington Post reports that gun-control advocates are already planning a protest outside the White House at 4:30 on Friday afternoon. Details are still being worked out, according to HuffPost, citing a person involved with the planning,
Many supporters of President Barack Obama have been frustrated by his reluctance to discuss gun laws, particularly since the “Dark Knight” massacre that took place in Aurora, Colo., less than five months ago. Since that time, the country has seen public shootings in a Wisconsin Sikh temple, an Oregon shopping mall and now a school in suburban Connecticut.
Addressing the nation today, a teary-eyed President Obama spoke briefly about the tragedy. "We've endured too many tragedies like these in the past few years," he said, later adding, "We are going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics. "
But politics abound across the Internet and social media on Friday, where outrage permeated discussions of change in a country where more than 14,000 people are murdered by guns every year. CNN’s Piers Morgan quickly weighed in on Carney’s press statement via Twitter. “Jay Carney’s right,” he posted. “Today’s not the day to debate gun control. YESTERDAY was the day to debate it.”
Elsewhere on Twitter, the debate over gun laws spilled out across the network via the #guncontrol hashtag, with about 30 posts coming in per minute on Friday afternoon. Many were appeals to the president, and some not so friendly.
“Dear @BarackObama, you have the power to set #GunControl in motion. Time to act,” posted one user.
“What does Obama care! His daughters have bodyguards,” posted another.
Similar posts poured in under the hashtag #howmanymore.
Meanwhile, the debate raged on from the pro-gun side as well. The Daily Caller’s Alex Pappas, ostensibly chastising the liberal media for politicizing the tragedy so quickly, proceeded to do some politicizing of his own. “Liberal reporters, elected officials, pundits and Hollywood entertainers are blaming the National Rifle Association, calling for gun control and expressing no apologies for being political immediately in the wake of the Connecticut elementary school shooting on Friday,” he wrote.
Pappas’ article was followed by anti-NRA tweets by Michael Moore, actor Will Wheaton and others.
On the conservative website the Blaze, an unbiased article on Jay Carney’s statement was followed by fervent and even vicious user comments defending the unchecked interpretation of the Second Amendment.
“Evil existed long before guns were invented, and evil will exist even if every gun, cannon, knife, hacksaw, axe, drill, ice pick, etc., were destroyed,” wrote one commenter.
Another commenter suggested that a liberal conspiracy was afoot. “It’s very fishy how we keep having the shootings like this,” he wrote. “All with the supposed ‘assault weapons.’ I smell a ban coming on soon. People already screaming all over about gun bans.”
On Twitter, the conservative firebrand Ann Coulter used the shooting as an opportunity to defend a policy allowing gun owners to carry concealed weapons. “Only one policy has ever been shown to deter mass murder: concealed-carry laws,” Coulter tweeted on Friday, according to TheWrap.
Officials reported on Friday that 27 people were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, including 18 children. The suspect was initially identified as Ryan Lanza, 24, who reportedly entered the school wearing a mask and a bulletproof vest. Subsequent reports said that the shooter was actually Adam Lanza, 20, who is reportedly Ryan's brother. The shooter died on the scene, although it is unclear how he died. His mother, Nancy Lanza, who worked as a teacher at the school, is also among the dead. There is still much confusion about the incidents and the identity of the shooter.
Authorities have no known motive as of yet.