By CHRIS AGEE
Days after a mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school killed 26 individuals, which authorities said included shooter Adam Lanza and 20 children, local residents expressed outrage and confusion over the senseless crime.
"I'm a gun advocate; I belong to the NRA," Donald Zink said, "but I also believe guns need to be regulated at some point."
He said authorities should enforce gun laws already in place and focus on removing firearms from the possession of criminals.
"Most of the people that are committing crimes are stealing the guns," he said. "We need to have a little bit more restriction on the criminals and try to break up some of these gangs."
Zink, who entertains children as Santa Claus during the holiday season, said the shooting broke his heart.
"I love kids," he said. "I prayed for those kids all weekend and their parents."
Amanda Delk agreed the timing added another layer of tragedy to the incident.
"Those parents have to go through that at this time of year especially," she said. "Any time of year is bad, but especially at the holidays."
She said many details have not been released, so she isn't sure what course of action might prevent similar shootings in the future.
"I don't know, it's kind of hard to even think about," she said. "I don't know if we need more security, but it's sad that way, too. We have to lock down the schools."
Barry Coats Jr. said, "I have no idea" how to prevent school shootings.
"It was a horrible incident," he said.
At this point, Zink said the Mineral Wells community can only support the families affected.
"What we can do as a community ... is stand behind the parents and everybody grieving for the parents and that's pretty much all we can do," he said. "Give them our sympathy and prayers."
The task of preventing similar tragedies lies with the individual, he added.
"It's going to be up to each individual in their household to regulate what goes on," he noted. "It's not the people that are legally buying guns and shooting for a sport, it's the criminals."
The first two funerals resulting from the shooting were held Monday in Newtown, Conn. for 6-year-olds Noah Pozner and Jack Pinto.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.