- Piers Morgan: Past gun-related tragedies haven't led to any action
- He says that must change, and he hosted a debate on the issue
- Morgan: Laws must be changed to limit weapons, ammunition and enforce background checks
- Rights of Americans who use guns for hunting and sport must be respected, he says
On Wednesday night, I hosted a town hall-style debate on guns in America, talking to lawmakers, mass shooting survivors, lawyers, gun lobbyists -- anyone, basically, who has a strong opinion about what I consider to be the single biggest issue facing America today.
Since I joined CNN two years ago, there have been a series of gun-related tragedies, including the attack on U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater massacre.
Each sparked a short-term debate about guns. Yet each debate fizzled out with zero action being taken to try and curb the use of deadly weapons on the streets of America.
Now, following the grotesque slaughter of 20 innocent young children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, I sense that the mood has changed.
We have reached a crucial moment in this debate, and I intend to use my platform to continue this conversation on Wednesday night and going forward. The media have previously been quick to move on to other stories after these tragic acts of gun violence. That must change.
I've made my own views clear on my show -- the senseless killing has to stop. High-powered assault rifles of the type used at Aurora and Newtown belong in the military and police, not in civilian hands. High-capacity magazines, too, should be banned. And background checks on anyone buying guns in America should be comprehensive and stringently enforced.
As President Barack Obama said, doing nothing is no longer an option.
But, at the same time, law-abiding Americans who want to protect themselves under the Second Amendment right to bear arms must be respected. As should the rights of Americans to use guns for hunting and sport.
This is a vital debate for the country. Some 12,000 people are murdered in the United States with guns every year, compared with just 35 in Britain, where there are strong gun laws.
Sandy Hook should, and must, be a tipping point for real action to bring this number down.