The tragedy at the hands of Adam Lanza that took the lives of 27 people—20 children age six to seven and six educators in an exclusive elementary school, and the mother of the shooter in Newtown, Connecticut—should be the loudest of all clarion calls to finally…finally move the U.S. Congress to ban the sale and use—with the understandable exception of military and police—of all semi-automatic assault rifles.
With the exception of the recent Oak Creek and Brookfield killings in which handguns were used by the assailants, the majority of the mass shootings in our nation have been done with weaponry normally associated with the Army, Marines or police tactical units.
As President Obama noted during his remarks before grieving families and residents of Newtown Connecticut, this type of carnage—which has become frighteningly too common in our country of late—has to stop.
To us, the first step must be the banning of semi-automatic rifles, especially when—as we’ve learned—with certain parts and the right expertise, can be turned into fully automatic weapons!
There must also be more stringent background checks and the establishment of a national database of all registered gun owners that include the type of weapons they own and how many.
The database must also have access to information that will allow gun retailers to immediately check to see if a gun buyer has a criminal record, which would include whether they have a felony or a misdemeanor and the type of offense that may give insight to the applicant’s state of mind.
Government must act now while this tragedy in Newtown is fresh in our psyche and before it gets pushed to the shadows of our conscience by the 24/7 news cycle chasing another, similar incident.
We’re not surprised to learn the National Rifle Association—the self-appointed protector of the constitutional right for all Americans to bear arms—has been silent in the wake of the shooting.
As they should be! They are at least smart enough to realize any word from them at this time would turn the entire nation against them—even their supporters.
The NRA should and must, however, be at the table when government officials and social and psychological experts, clergy, educators, the heads of media and entertainment conglomerates, and representatives of family organizations sit down to discuss what can and must be done to stop this plague on our society that is rooted in a number of social ills, uneven state gun laws and trigger happy, romanticized mindsets with origins in the founding and expansion of this nation.
We must do everything humanly possible as a nation to keep another Aurora, Oak Creek and Newtown from happening again. We owe it to our children—this nation’s future—to do nothing less.