A few things I believe:
– Guns don’t kill, people do.
– The insane and evil don’t kill dozens in a few minutes, guns do.
– “More guns” is never the answer, except during war.
– This is not a war.
Guns should be available for purchase and use by sane, responsible Americans. It is a constitutional right, and an important historic aspect of our culture. But given their killing purpose, guns and ammunition should be more regulated than cars, and taxed heavily enough to offset the full costs of their proper regulation. Their use and storage should be licensed, inspected, tracked and otherwise strictly regulated. Their ownership and use should require training and tests, and should be revokable by local judges for lesser causes than felonious acts. It is wrong that it was FAR more difficult for me to get access to a weapon when I was in the military than it is for me as a civilian, let alone for a deranged young man in Connecticut. The military treats weapons with much more respect than just throwing them in a shoebox on a closet shelf with fistfuls of loose rounds, both because of what they represent and what they can do.
We must also do more to protect ourselves from the insane, and the insane from their ability to use modern machines to take horrific action. We must recognize that some among us require much more support and guidance to maintain control their behavior. We must also recognize that some among us will remain unpredictably incapable of controlling their violent impulses. If they prove themselves to be that way, then at the same time they lose their rights to act as free citizens, we become burdened with the responsibility of giving them a humane controlled environment for as long as necessary.
I also believe that focusing on assault weapons and other minutiae is a policy mistake and a distraction; we should be addressing effective regulation of all firearms. A semi-automatic weapon of any sort safely locked away in the home of a sane, trained, responsible person is not a threat to our civil society, and such private ownership of weapons _is_ a meaningful symbol of the strength of our governmental system. The outrageous threat comes from access to weapons by those whom NO ONE ON THIS EARTH thinks should ever have access to any horrific weapon, be it a gun, a car, a machete, a gallon of gasoline…but given their efficiency and focused killing purpose, the threat comes especially from access to guns, so let’s start there.