The article from CNN starts:
“On Friday morning, a man walked through the entrance of an elementary school and, without warning, began ruthlessly cutting down children at the school. Before he was subdued, nearly two dozen were hit.
While it sounds like the horrific massacre in Connecticut, this attack took place about 8,000 miles away in central China. “
There were two huge differences between this attack in China, and the recent one in Connecticut. First, in China’s, although 22 children were hit, none died. Second, the one in China involved a knife, not a gun. In fact, China has extremely strict gun laws.
This recent gun rampage, along with the ones in Oregon, the Aurora movie theater, the Sikh temple, and others, will spark more gun control debates. They will also spark more gun rampage copycats. The second amendement advocates will dig their heels in, saying things like “I wish the principal and teachers had been armed”, while gun control activists will say this is proof that guns need to be taken off the market.
We, despite tending to be very libertarian, are not when it comes to guns (which makes us quite unpopular in some circles). We could go on the usual tirades about how countries with stricter gun laws have fewer gun deaths, or how “a well-regulated militia” is probably a somewhat important part of the 2nd amendment. But we would just be counteracted with examples of the people who used guns in self-defense, or would be told that we are not worthy of interpreting the constitution. So why bother?
The sad truth is that neither side is correct. Obviously, if there were stricter gun laws there would be fewer gun deaths. As much as second amendment lovers try to overanalyze every aspect in order to claim the opposite, this is still an utterly obvious truth. Guns don’t kill people. People kill people. But if people don’t have guns people kill far fewer people. On the other hand, the United States is much too far along to get rid of guns. Gun advocates are correct in saying that this will not help (and might harm) people’s safety. As a recent study by the Cato institute states:
But guns are long-lived capital assets.The stock of privately owned firearms in the United States is large relative to annual sales (Kleck 1991, chap. 2). Firearms are passed down through generations of family members. They are bought and sold, traded, parted out, and given away among friends, acquaintances, and strangers. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to constrain and regulate the transfer of firearms between non-dealer private parties.[...]
Government extensive and intrusive enough to regulate all private transfers of firearms would raise significant civil liberties issues.
This is absolutely correct. Guns are long-lived capital assets, and outlawing them tomorrow will do very little to decrease their use (and likely spark a new underground black market in guns).
So what is the solution? The solution is one of the worst kinds. It is a long-term solution, in that it would take longer than any one person’s political term to carry out.
If the ultimate goal is fewer deaths (I think we can all agree on that), then the ultimate goal should be fewer firearms, starting with firearms in the hands of wackos who shoot up schools, malls and temples. This makes sense, in that, if you need a prescription for sinus and allergy medicine, it stands to reason that a background check or two when purchasing a semi-automatic weapon would be of some benefit. Steps like this could be carried out right away, but they would have to become more and more strict as time went on, with the ultimate goal of fewer guns being in 10 or 20 years’ time. The problem is, any politician who becomes unpopular by proposing such a plan, will likely not be in office to reap its rewards.
In other words, we need people to want a huge change, and we need them to want it for a long time.