Reading letters on gun control published after the Sandy Hook school shooting, it appears conservatives blame that event on everything but guns. Some insist the Sandy Hook shooting can be attributed directly to legalized abortion, the elimination of prayer in school and teaching the theory of evolution as science. Then they speak out against liberals who would dare exploit this tragedy in order to serve a political agenda. How ironic.
We do need to have a rational discussion of Second Amendment issues. Many speak of the constitutional right to bear arms and how it protects the freedom of citizens from government tyranny (which is apparently right around the corner) by balancing the power of well-armed citizens against government military force.
If we think about that for a moment, most will realize the philosophy that worked in 1776 is laughable today. Any combat veteran who has seen firsthand what military and logistical force can be brought to bear against an enemy knows it is no contest. In 1776, the most advanced armament was a cannon, and the majority of real fighting was done on foot with muskets and bayonets. Today, such a citizen or armed militia could face every weapon ever used in wars from Vietnam to Iraq.
If the Second Amendment implies a check on government power, that requires an approximate balance of capability. This interpretation suggests a right to bear machine guns, hand grenades, RPGs, bazookas, improvised explosives and surface-to-air missiles. As military technology has advanced, that balance clearly wasn’t maintained. Today, there’s a possibility for resistance but no realistic way for citizens to fight the government of a modern military power without major outside backing from another sovereign state.
Most people believe the Second Amendment allows for ownership of revolvers, semi-automatic pistols with magazines holding up to 10 shots, shotguns and sporting rifles for target shooting and hunting. I’d suggest no rifle bigger than .22-caliber LR should have a magazine clip holding more than five rounds. On the other hand, the NRA demands no limits on ammo magazine size or on the sale of assault rifles and insists background check regulations cannot be tightened. They should remember that Jared Loughner, who shot Rep. Gabby Giffords and killed six people and wounded 12, was only stopped after his ammo clip ran out.
The greatest tragedy would be for us to do nothing. The incidence rate of mass shootings has more than doubled in the years since Congress allowed the Brady Bill to expire. When we implement new laws, we must include tighter regulations that block access to weapons for individuals deemed by a professional to be mentally unstable.
We should also address the problem of violent video games and the growing trend of violence in entertainment media that tends to lower social inhibitions against violence. In particular, I fault first-person shooter games like “Call Of Duty.” Such games were played by the Columbine shooters and by Adam Lanza, who killed 20 children at Sandy Hook.