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Emotions run high as Newtown splits over gun control

Emotions ran high Sunday evening as dozens gathered at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Newtown, Conn., to discuss violence prevention and gun control.

People there were still reeling from the deadly shooting at the elementary school that killed 20 children.

Some at the meeting called for increased controls on guns, but others said taking them away from law-abiding citizens was not the answer.

“I’m horrified at what has happened in Newtown,” said Rev. Joseph Pace. “I certainly support a ban on assault weapons and also much more attention, funds and support given to those who are mentally ill.”

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Rep. John B. Larson, (D-Conn.) who hosted the forum, is co-sponsoring a bill that would ban assault weapons and high-capacity clips.

“We will persist in making sure that we stay after this legislation in a comprehensive manner,” Larson said.

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Some thought mitigating violence lies with stricter gun control laws and more mental health services.

“Guns kill people. Access to guns will allow somebody to kill people,” Alberto Cohen-Abbo said.

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Others disagreed. “If you want to prevent crime, get the criminals off the street and keep them off the street,” said Ed Peruta.

 “The root cause of why [Adam Lanza] did this, had nothing to do with assault rifles. He would have found another way to do this,” said another man.

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But Larson said lawmakers must act to make sure mass shootings don’t happen again.

“If we don’t stand up now … whether you’re a member of congress or you’re a member of any community … aren’t we then complicit for not having done [anything]?”