I think we can all agree what a terrible tragedy the killings at Sandy Hook were. I think it is sad that President Obama, Sen. Feinstein and others are using this tragedy to further their own goals. Most people who favor banning guns claim that if the public did not own guns there would be no gun crime. While gun ownership has gone up, the murder rate has gone down in America. So it is not solely gun ownership that leads to crime, in fact most people who commit gun crimes are not legally supposed to have a gun. In parts of Europe where guns are banned there are still massacres, and in parts of the Middle East where terrorists have fully automatic military guns, there are not the school massacres that one would expect, probably because Israel has armed guards in their schools.
Reducing gun violence is an admirable goal. There are, however, more children killed, not to mention harmed by pedophiles, drunk drivers, and abusive home situations; than are killed by guns. Several of these are repeat offenders. A large component of the people who favor banning guns is totally against restricting what can be posted on the Internet and our children exposed to. Liberals and our legal system will also say you can't let a jury know what people have done in the past, because nothing should be prejudicial against them.
Obama has called for a committee to have recommendations within 30 days on how to end these episodes of mass murders. If it were that simple how come no one has done it? It is not that simple and this committee will not come up with an in-depth solution to the problem. They will recommend banning "assault" weapons and probably all semi-automatic guns. There will be lip service paid to mental health issues, but no plan to help these people and their families and definitely no legal changes to allow public safety to have priority over the individual's right to refuse treatment and the jury's abilities to know about past misdeeds. If one is serious about reducing the availability of semi-automatic guns to the dangerously mentally ill population one ought to look at the ones who tend to be the mass murderers. In general these murderers are a subset of schizophrenics whose age at onset tends to be 18-25 and a subset of the sociopaths who continue to commit worsening crimes until permanently incarcerated.
Both of these groups tend to have problems holding full-time employment and tend to have run-ins with the legal system. So I would suggest instead of saying that no one can be trusted to own a gun in America, we say that if you have been a contributing member of society i.e. paying taxes or employed for i.e. 10 years without interruption, no run-ins with the legal system, over a certain age (i.e. 25), honorably discharged military, etc.,; or combination of the above, we don't need to restrict your rights.
These criteria would also limit drug dealers, gang members, and others who live outside the legal systems rights to have firearms. People not meeting these criteria who want to own guns could then undergo appropriate testing.
Which brings us to a key point; the people committing these atrocities were not legally qualified under our current system to have guns. The police are understaffed and have their hands tied by a system that continues to put repeat offenders back out on the street and will throw out evidence collected in good-faith because of the technicality. There are not enough parole officers, social workers, mental health workers, and police officers; to keep track of people who need watched. Nor is there any plan to fund it, politicians have other priorities, Obamacare, etc.
So if the president and others are indeed interested in trying to prevent future atrocities I would encourage them to focus on the problems: gangs, mental illness, drug use, lack of respect for life and property, lack of funding, movie, internet, and video game violence, etc..; that lead to these events, not by taking law-abiding citizens' rights away.
Richard E Cain,