After the bloody massacre of young children, teachers and school officials at a Connecticut elementary school last week, many people were left with a question: “Why?” And though it is important to understand how a young man came to the point of slaughtering innocent children, the nation should instead be focused on a statement: “Never again.”
Several mass killings involving guns have occurred this year, including at a nursing school in Oakland, a mall in Oregon, a movie theater in Colorado and an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.
The U.S. gun lobby would have you believe there is nothing that can be done to stop people with mental illnesses from killing others, and that more people should have guns so they can shoot and kill potential mass killers. But this narrative is nonsense. Such lies must be overcome to help pass new gun laws that forever rid our streets of these deadly weapons.
At the same time, the tragic shooting also makes it clear that the nation needs to tackle the availability of mental health services to troubled families. But the regulation of firearms needs to be at the front and center of this debate.
Yes, many gun laws are already on the books. But many of those laws were watered down by the efforts of the gun lobby. Current U.S. laws are clearly not sufficient to keep dangerous weapons off our streets.
Gun-rights advocates point to the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution as the source of their right to bear arms. But consider how that section of the Bill of Rights begins: “A well regulated Militia ... .” Yes, regulation, the concept that gun lobbyists fear most, is clearly contemplated in the third word of the Second Amendment.
Gun-rights advocates always cite the intent of the framers of the Constitution when speaking about the Second Amendment, yet the true intent seems plenty clear. Even back when the Founding Fathers knew that this country needed a militia to protect itself from England, they also understood that our government needed the authority to regulate this right.
Another false narrative is that we need more guns to protect people from all the guns already on our streets. But such thinking is completely backward. If Adam Lanza hadn’t had a gun in the first place, no one else would have needed a weapon to stop him.
And finally, consider the venerable bumper-sticker slogan, “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.”
It is easily debunked by comparing both of the school rampages that occurred Friday.
In Newtown, a man with reported neurological issues shot his way into a school and fired multiple bullets into his victims with an AR-15 assault rifle — the same type of weapon used in other recent mass shootings — before killing himself.
In China, a man with reported mental illness went to the gate of a school and slashed kids and a teacher with a knife in a rampage. But in the Chinese attack, no one died.
It is time for Americans to say they have had enough. Lawmakers are continually bullied by the well-funded gun lobby. In the days after the attack, some people said it was too soon to talk about gun regulation.
In fact, the second the first shots were fired at the school, it was too late to talk about meaningful regulation.