Eyewitness News

The gun debate

Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Bill Ritters daily take on the news.

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.

I'm in Newtown again today - a little town that has become something of a pilgrimage site. Lots of traffic to get in here --- hard to find parking - but people do - and then they get out and just walk - looking at the overflowing makeshift memorials. Filed with stuff animals and candles and signs and balloons. They come not for spectacle but out of respect.

As you enter the town you see so many signs of sorrow. One of them says, simple, we are Newtown. It is at once both a rallying cry - and a plea. The feeling here tonight - with real talk about changing gun laws and changing how we deal with mental illness - is that finally, people are listening.

School resumed today. But just for a few days. Then winter break - and a season that is supposed to be filled with joy and celebration--- and the mantra of "Happy New Year."

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But for the good people of Newtown-- well -- they are a long way from that. How could they not be?

Normal here -- is like a foreign language.

What is welcomed by some is a rash of changes that are, at least for now, sweeping various parts of the country. Dick's Sporting Goods, the giant national chain, announcing today that it is suspending sales of military-style rifles. And the Governor of Michigan today vetoed legislation that would have allowed concealed pistol license holders - after they finished additional training - to carry concealed pistols in schools and other places that currently are off-limits.

Meanwhile, the funerals continue here. Two more first graders buried today - their two families passing each other as one was leaving and the other was arriving. They stopped and hugged and cried.

We will have the latest from Newtown tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER

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