Stricter gun control is blowing in the wind here in East Contra Costa County. Supporters of the right to bear all kinds of weapons and the equally vocal Americans clamoring for stricter gun controls are frozen in their positions. But those in the middle seem to be thawing as a result of the recent massacres.

A snap survey of East County voters indicates a growing change. Locals were asked if their feelings about gun control had altered in the past year. For some it hasn't. But for many others the time has come to tighten the gun laws.

Cindi Tai of Antioch says the mood of the whole country is starting to shift. "I think Congress will be forced to act now. I expect we will see a ban on automatic weapons."

Sandy Remington of Brentwood agrees. "My feelings have changed. The school shootings really got to me. The situation has gotten out of control and I've become more convinced that these killings must be stopped. We need to strengthen our gun control laws."

Linda Stevens of Antioch has been a hunter. "I thoroughly approve of people being able to own guns, but the big automatic weapons that can fire unlimited numbers of bullets never made sense to me," she said.

Tamara Waid of Oakley comes from a family of hunters. "I'm used to guns being safely held, but the climate has changed," she said. "I worry a lot more about my kids now, especially when they're away from home. Congress will do something, but unfortunately there always are some people who can figure out ways to get around the law."

Gary Bart of Antioch is convinced we will see congressional action. "The past year's shootings have strengthened the country's will to force action. It's becoming more and more obvious that Congress will have to act," he said.

Pittsburg's Reg Brown is a skeptic. "While I always favored stronger gun controls on automatic weapons, I have no faith that anything will change soon. Congress is too polarized to come up with legislation that can pass. There'll be a lot of debate and noise about not needing an assault rifle to hunt ducks, but no action will come of it," he said.

"The majority of Americans feel too strongly about gun ownership and Congress wont won't buck that tide," insisted Mary Haberstein of Brentwood. "We're going to see a strong attack on automatic weapons but I doubt it's going to result in any changes in the gun laws."

Mike Jered of Antioch said nothing has changed his thinking. "The shootings were sadly unfortunate, but should be kept in perspective. It has nothing to do with guns. It's the people who use them," he said.

Phil West of Antioch now feels more strongly against weapons with the capacity to fire multiple rounds. "But, I doubt we'll see any near-term solutions. Quick fixes after tragedies never seem to solve much," he said.

Contact Ed Arnow at BrentwoodBuzz@aol.com.