Guns and Sandy Hook

On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza forced entry into the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, and gunned down 20 children and six adults after murdering his mother, Nancy, at their home.  Lanza used guns legally owned by his mother, a gun enthusiast.  Involving, as it did, children under seven years old and coming right before Christmas, it set off a period of national mourning.   As a grandparent and former resident of Connecticut with friends in Newtown, it hit me particularly hard … I cried every time I saw a picture of those children.   The event also kicked of an almost immediate debate on Gun Control which was becoming increasingly vehement.  In Can’t We Wait?, I suggested that we stop arguing about gun policy until we’d finished grieving the children who died there.  I also suggested that we each take the time to educate ourselves on the issues.  The In the Crossfire posts document my education and where it’s led me.

In the Crossfire – starting thoughts

In the Crossfire, Too – statistics can be confusing

In the Crossfire Three – is extreme gun control possible in the U.S.?

In the Crossfire, Four – do guns save lives?

Still In the Crossfire – the Second Amendment

I am not a gun enthusiast.   I am not especially political or a jurist.  I didn’t find the process of educating myself on guns and gun laws especially enjoyable.  I do not regard myself as an expert.  But I’ve learned enough to have an informed opinion, what my blogging friend, thesinglecell, would call Common Sense.  In addition to offering an informed opinion, I’ll offer this.  It is our duty as a nation to take some steps to reduce gun violence … through responsible limits on guns for personal use … as a (perhaps symbolic) gesture to the memory of those kids.  That is an emotional argument.  I’d suggest that excluding emotion from this discussion is either impossible or self-serving.  At the end of the day, here is my informed opinion:

It’s time to outlaw possession of assault or military-style weapons meant for warfare and for high-capacity clips that make no sense as self-protection. It’s time to tighten standards for gun possession. Gun rights folk talk about only criminals having guns but crimes like Sandy Hook are more often committed by the mentally or emotionally debilitated and there certainly can be more control of access for the potentially unstable.  On the other hand, I support the rights of individuals to bear arms, in spite of my personal decision not to do so.   Laws should not only establish limits on what weapons are available to individuals, but define specific rights of gun owners.   Sadly, I think only more extreme security measures at the schools can keep them from being a target of choice.

The always interesting posts of my blogging friend, thesinglecell, helped keep this project going.  These are several of her relevant posts:

Newtown – thoughts on the tragedy
Now is the Time – another opinion
Common Sense – a response to In the Crossfire

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