And right now. No, now is not the time to wait for a while and mourn. Now is also the time to get mad.
You’d have to be living in a cave at the moment not to know that yesterday, a gunman entered a K-4 elementary school in Connecticut and murdered 20 children aged 5-10, and six adults. Then himself. And prior to that, his mother, at home. So counting him, 28 people. As far as we know.
11 days before Christmas.
The weapons he used were two semi-automatic handguns: a Sig Sauer, and a Glock 9mm. He left the Bushmaster .223 M4 rifle in the car. Not enough hands, I guess.
If the assault weapons ban in the U.S. had still been in place, his mother (to whom the guns were registered) would not have been able to purchase them. At least not from a federal or state licensed dealer. Gun shows, transactions between individuals, doesn’t count. They were classified as assault weapons because they are capable of firing up to 32 rounds using an extended clip. But it requires a trigger pull each time it fires, as opposed to fully automatic, which only requires one trigger pull and keeps firing until you let go.
The meager gun laws we do have in the U.S. already do say that you can’t buy a gun if you’re an ex-felon, or if you’re mentally ill. The latter prohibition is big enough to drive a truck through.
I’ve read of gun dealers who refused to sell a gun to someone who acted strange, even when the buyer’s background check was “clean”. We need more people like that.
Which brings me to the National Rifle Association (NRA). Whom I hate. But first: I’ve owned handguns. I know many, many people who own weapons of various kinds, and who are members of the NRA. The NRA does a very good job–and they may be the only organization that does–at teaching about gun safety, even to kids. They conduct classes and training, for children and adults. But somewhere along the line, the NRA has gone off the rails. Now they are a major lobbying organization, and they have adopted a “slippery slope” philosophy: ANY gun control is a step toward banning guns for everyone. So they vigorously fight any response to even the most heinous gun crimes.
But control is not a ban.
You would think they would understand this, but logic is not involved here.
One of the arguments put forth regarding the ban of assault weapons is that as long as criminals and crazy people can still get them, you, as a law-abiding citizen, must be free to buy evermore increasing firepower to match what the criminals have. What about the concept of preventing criminals from having that firepower? Then you wouldn’t need it yourself. You could (eventually) de-escalate. It will take time. Because the criminals can still buy those weapons at gun shows and from each other.
The assault weapons ban in the U.S. expired in 2004. It’s time to bring it back. But improve on it. It was wimpy in the first place.