Niagara Gazette

December 20, 2012

EDITORIAL: Gun control - not ban - should start solution

Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Discussion about how to end gun violence in this country has dominated the national conversation for days, following the horrific events in Newtown, Conn. Friday.

Talk of quick-fixes, from banning and destroying all firearms to arming every citizen with an automatic rifle to intimidate criminals from taking actions on thoughts of violence, have begun to dominate both Internet chatter and that of Washington politicians.

The problem with these extreme options is they’re impossible to accomplish.

Mass shootings, as President Barack Obama said Sunday addressing the nation from the previously quiet western Connecticut town, cannot be eliminated through any single law or set of laws. It’s a multi-faceted issue with its solutions located partly in the mental health field, partly in new gun control laws and partly within schools and households across the country.

In the end, we believe this is only the opening act to reverse the violence which has infiltrated American culture. Guns aren’t the root of the issue. They’re simply a single leaf on a flourishing branch.

We, as a nation, need to be proactive with our approach rather than reactionary; mindful and vigilant rather than headstrong and incomplete. Though the ban of guns would be a favorable scenario for furthering a truly peaceful country, humans are far from the peaceful beings we tell ourselves we are.  With guns gone, there’d still be other means of killing – but the potential for mass murder would be greatly reduced.

There are other fixes out there, ones which are less infringing on second amendment rights of citizens, which was designed, like each of the items of the Bill of Rights, to ensure a person’s ability to protect himself, his land and his country. While members of Congress such as Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), discuss an outright ban on assault weapons following decades of lax laws, perhaps they should consider a change which doesn’t disrupt the rights of Americans to own guns while making it harder for individuals to commit mass murder.

What about a massive tax on the sale of all bullets? After all, it’s the bullets which actually kill the victims of gun violence. We feel such a tax, implemented immediately to avoid potential stockpilers, would do one of two things: either reduce the number of deadly encounters on the street and in our public places or provide the federal government with extra income to provide programs designed to reduce these awful occurrences. If it can do both, then mission accomplished.

We feel, at this point, the goal should be the reduction in the frequency of these mass shootings. We’re still too early in the response, which should have started years ago after the Columbine or Virginia Tech school shootings or the Tucson shooting which severely injured former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. There is no way to stop this from happening in the real world. The best we can hope for is a country where parents love their children, schools are safe from lunatics and smart people make decisions with a mind on the impact they have on a general public as diverse as it’s been in all of American history.