What actions could we take that would prevent such tragedies as the Newtown school shootings?
The Newtown school shootings have touched off a new round of calls for tougher gun laws. Gun legislation is on the minds of many now, what with the Batman Movie Mass Murders (14 dead, 56 injured), the Oregon Mall Mass Murders (3 dead, 1 injured), and now the Newtown Elementary School Mass Murders (28 dead, 1 injured); all coming close on the heels of one another.
I know this is a politically charged issue, but I have to think everyone from the most ardent gun rights advocates to those wishing for strict gun laws such as European nations have all agree what happened in the Newtown, CT elementary school, with 20 innocent little kids getting slaughtered, is horrific.
The question is what can we do to prevent it? Can legislation alone remove the threat? All three weapon carried by the perpretrator, Alan Lanza, had been legally purchased by his mother. And while a knee-jerk reaction might be an assault weapon ban, the one assault rifle he had, a Bushmaster 223 Rifle, was left unused in his car. If legislation alone can’t reduce the violence, what can?
Rather than get into a debate about what the Constitution means by “well ordered militia” and how it’s possible to kill people with a coke bottle or a length of twine, can we focus on what, if anything, we might actually do to limit or prevent such tragedies in the future? Bear in mind that 47% of US households are armed with at least one gun. So it would probably take many generations for laws restricting gun purchases to have any real effect. And like it or not, the Supreme Court’s reading of the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms means we aren’t going to suddenly become a gun free land where only the military and law enforcement are armed. So within the limits of what is realistic, what, if anything, should be done?