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Would more guns save more American lives?

9 January 2013 Last updated at 01:52 GMT

The mass shooting at a US school which left 20 children and six teachers dead has provoked a national conversation about guns.

But in Illinois that debate was already under way.

On 10 December - just days before the tragedy in Connecticut - a US federal court struck down the country's last remaining law banning concealed weapons.

Lawmakers in Illinois were given six months to come up with an alternative piece of legislation. Now gun control advocates and gun rights activists are trying to shape that new law.

Journalism professor Charles Ledford had been speaking to people on both sides of the debate before events at Sandy Hook Elementary School. He visited a local group called Guns Save Life, whose members are arguing for more permissive gun laws, as well as the mother of a victim of a previous mass shooting.

His video provides an insight into the strongly held beliefs that influence discussion on this topic, as Vice-President Joe Biden prepares to deliver recommendations on how to prevent future massacres.

The scale of the tragedy in Newtown has reinforced views. The BBC spoke to several members of Guns Save Life after the shooting in Newtown - and gathered email responses from many more.

All insisted that the tragedy had strengthened their belief that the creation of "gun-free zones" - banning weapons from public areas including schools - had made the US more dangerous.

Produced for the BBC by Charles Ledford