‘After Newtown’ restarts gun debate

Is it just me, or does it seem that the debate over guns in America has taken a back seat to a host of other critical public policy issues?

I don’t think it’s me.

On Tuesday, PBS might be able to turn our attention back to guns with the rebroadcast of “After Newtown: Guns in America,” to be shown at 7 p.m. on KACV-TV.

You’ll recall the horror that enveloped the nation in December 2012 when a young man opened fire in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. The young man killed 20 first-grade students, six educators and his mother before killing himself.

The debate that erupted in the aftermath of that tragedy was furious, often ferocious. It was heartfelt on both sides of the divide between those who want stricter rules for gun purchasers and owners and those who think that the rules already are strict enough.

We heard talk about gun legislation. President Obama went on the air to make the case for greater control. Parents of slain children became spokesmen and women. National Rifle Association officials spoke out against efforts to impose stricter regulations.

“After Newtown” was billed as an “unprecedented exploration of America’s enduring relationship with firearms.”

After the firestorm of debate and recriminations from both sides, the issue has been pushed aside as the nation rivets its attention on things such as civil rights, voting rights, U.S.-Russia relations, Edward Snowden and the National Security Agency, the economy … you name it.

“After Newtown” will provide an important reminder that the debate over guns hasn’t been resolved.

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