Massacre dictates action on guns


There comes a time when you’ve got to step in and stop someone else’s addiction. Certain people have issues with alcohol. Other people have problems with drugs such as cocaine. And then there are people with an addiction to guns, a particularly severe American illness. Finding a cure for this issue will be the focus of this letter.

Firearms fetishists are pretty quick to cite the Second Amendment anytime someone brings up the possibility of enacting responsible gun laws, dismissively tipping their hat at anyone who disagrees with them and then toddling off to the firing range. What gun enthusiasts seem to forget is that the Constitution and its amendments are words that demand interpretation since the text is not always meant to be taken literally. Basically, it is not practical to quote the Bill of Rights the same way religious fundamentalists quote Leviticus or certain verses of the Quran, since being like those types of people is not advisable. This matter is more complicated than that, especially after considering something like the Sandy Hook shooting.

Many at a school full of children were recently slaughtered. It would be irresponsible and stupid not to do anything in response, so the president has proposed recommendations in the interest of preventing another such massacre. The National Rifle Association has its own take on the tragedy as well, such as blaming video games and that we should turn schools into the same authoritarian environment found in prisons. And while the NRA’s suggestions make sense if you enjoy a steady diet of gun powder in your morning cereal others would prefer more rational solutions to preventing another crisis. This is where the American public’s opinion matters.

With the lower chamber of Congress controlled by Republicans the prospect of needed measures such as an assault weapons ban and stronger background checks will be tough to pass, but not impossible. Believe it or not, Congress has passed a bill into law before. And so I would counsel my fellow Americans to write, call, and contact their representatives in Congress demanding that universal background checks be imposed, military-style weapons like the Bushmaster be banned, and that America update its aged, deliberately maligned system of gun laws.

Learn from history. In 1996 a madman went on a shooting spree in New Town, Australia. In 2012 a different madman went on a shooting spree in Newtown, Conn. Australia passed laws banning certain types of guns immediately afterward in response to its last mass shooting more than 17 years ago, and since then there has never been another. The United States of America must now do the same for itself in order to protect its citizens.

Addictions are tough to kick but can be overcome.

Robert Heltzel