Enough Is Enough: Debating Gun Control After the Newtown, CT, Shooting

President Obama needs to get real on gun control. Now.

Here’s what we know so far about this morning’s mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut: A gunman entered an elementary school and shot at least 27 people, 18 of whom were children. The kids were in gym class when they heard booms and started screaming. The principals, staff, and teachers rushed to save them and several lost their lives in the process, including the gunman’s own mother*. It’s already being called one of the worst school shootings in American history. And this needs to stop.

According to news sources, President Obama has already called Connecticut governor Dan Malloy to offer his condolences. “The governor took a call from President Obama [and] pledged whatever resources the federal government could bring to bear,” the governor’s spokesperson said. One can only hope that Obama can do much more than that.

The issue of gun control was all but ignored during the epic, most expensive election cycle in American history—this, despite the fact that killing sprees broke out in Aurora, Colo., a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, and a manufacturing plant in Minnesota all in the final months of the campaign. According to the great reporting by Mother Jones, there have been 61 mass shootings in the past 30 years, spanning the country from Massachusetts to Hawaii. And nearly all of the shooters got their guns legally. When will enough be enough?

Obama caught fire during his first election cycle when he made an offhand remark about how conservatives “cling to their guns or religion” when they feel like they’re not getting the help they need from their politicians. Since then, he’s left the issue off the table, with only fleeting mentions of the need for reform, even while members of his own party have been shot in the head and left for dead. If conservatives cling to their guns when they’re feeling they’re not heard, what to make of a constituency that is raging at the inaction? The president is scheduled to give a public statement at 3:15 p.m., and his representatives say that “today is not the day” to discuss gun control. But if not today, then when?


* This sentence has been edited to clarify Nancy Lanza’s employment at Sandy Hook Elementary. Initial reports incorrectly identified Adam Lanza’s mother as a teacher at Sandy Hook..

  • John Bravo 2

    I strongly disagree with your assessment. Gun control absolutely was what you had in play in CT today. Not a single law abiding citizen had a gun at that school. The perp had illegally obtained the weapons. He wasn’t of age to legally purchase ammo or firearms. While it might be convenient to shout of stronger gun control, I don’t see how making something that is already illegal, illegal again is going to stop someone who doesn’t care about the law. All the gun ban at the school did was make sure that the environment of opportunity favored the criminal activity that was carried out today.

    • james ross

      dont agree there…america has lost track of how many guns are out there legally and illegally…it is the classic chicken and egg situation…after giving the attacker a gun it follows you have to give evrone else a gun in defence!!time for the unscathed gun owners and hunters to sacrifice their guns and after a complete clamp up of guns to allow careful licensing of guns discriminately…

  • anonymous

    Please do not equate that banning guns will stop violence. It will not. There are already far too many guns available in our society for there to ever be any way to get control over them. In addition, the cliche that “If guns are banned only criminals will have access to them” is nothing but a simple truth. To my mind, we need to keep our eye on the ball and realize that the gun is (literally) nothing but a tool and focus on (what I think is the REAL core issue of this whole thing) identifying persons who are capable of performing this kind of horrendous action before they can act. I won’t tell you that I have any suggestion (other than to have everyone pay attention to the persons who exist in their environment and report to the police anyone who they preceive may be a threat of any kind) about how to do that, but I’ve come to believe that the only realistic solution to this sort of violence is for every rational, lawful, adult citizen of our country to be armed and trained in the use of their selected weapon, and to have that weapon with them in every place and situation. ONLY then will we be able to dramatically increase the chance that there will be an available defensive response at any place and time that a violence act takes place. If you feel differently about this I do respect your point of view (I wish that the world we live in did not contain this kind of violence), but I sincerely do believe that any other response other than the one I’ve identified won’t work here.