More Thoughts On Gun Control After The Sandy Hook School Shooting

I’m at a point on the “gun issue” where I honestly don’t care what gun owners have to say — that is, if you insist on defending material ownership rights above all else, including calls for a national conversation on gun control. Most people calling for tougher gun laws are not in favor of a prohibition on firearms. I’m included in that group. We know prohibition doesn’t work.

If we are going to have a serious conversation on the “gun issue,” it will require us to recognize there is no single solution to the problem of gun violence in this country.

Brady Campaign - God Bless America - Gun Violence

There are nearly enough guns in this country for every man, woman and child. We could repeal the Second Amendment tomorrow and we would still have hundreds of millions of guns to deal with. But while that is true, it does not mean we ignore the sales of weapons that do not belong in civilian life. So sensible gun control laws that limit access to assault weapons and high-capacity magazines is not only on the table, it should be the starting point of this national conversation.

In addition to sensible laws on the types of guns and ammo that can be sold, we also need to make it unlawful to sell a gun without a background check, up to and including private-party (non-retail) sales. Buying and selling a gun should at least be as regulated as buying and selling an automobile.

We also need a better health care system in this country that includes greater emphasis and better access to mental and behavioral health care.  And those background checks need to consider the mental health (accounting for privacy concerns) of the person attempting to purchase a firearm.

We need to break the cycle of responding to mass shooting events with shock and horror, followed by “it’s too soon to talk about gun control,” followed by nothing, followed by another mass shooting. These mass shootings are tragic, but they are hardly unthinkable, which is a common refrain in the aftermath of these events. Not only is Sandy Hook a tragedy; believing it is unthinkable is also a tragedy when we know in America’s culture of violence, the next Sandy Hook is right around the corner.

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Sensible Gun Safety

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