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Shootings raise questions about gun laws

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- As more details about the shootings Friday in Connecticut and a murder right here in Wilmington the night before become available, the nation's mindset seems to shift from horror to anger and demands for change, specifically about gun laws.

"I just don't think you can legislate bad people and whatever instrument they use to express that evil with, whether it's a gun, a car, a rock or a big knife. It doesn't really matter, the results are the same," said Richard Wright, manager of Shooter's Choice in Wilmington.

Wright says he is appalled by the shooter at Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary. He does not think, though, his actions should speak for the people who follow the laws in place for owning and operating guns.

"To take everyone's right away because some crazy person did something that evil, no, it just doesn't work that way," Wright said. "I really believe that we have a natural right, a god-given right, to protect yourself."

There are some people, though, that feel the gun laws should be rewritten to provide a safer environment overall. Wilmington attorney Deb Butler is one of those people.

"As a fairly young nation, we have a 'maverick' mindset when it comes to owning guns, but society has evolved. It has changed," Butler said. "This isn't the wild, wild west anymore, and reasonable gun control is paramount."

Butler says guns do not need to go away altogether, but semi-automatic weapons are not necessary.

"There are reasonable time/place restrictions on a number of things, so extended waiting periods and the prohibition of assault rifles, semi-automatic rifles is reasonable in an evolved society," Butler said. "We must do it, and we must do it immediately."

An ABC News/Washington Post poll finds half of Americans say the Connecticut school shooting reflects broader problems of our society, not just the isolated acts of a troubled person.

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