Gun nuts are fond of telling us that guns don't kill. Put a gun in a box and don't touch it for 10 years and there is a 100% chance that it won't shoot anyone. Their point, of course, is that gun control is not the right solution to gun violence. Instead, they insist the real problem lies with people: there are people out there who want to hurt other people. THAT'S the problem.
Then, feeling all smug and superior, gun nuts then retreat back to their little hidey-holes and wait for the next horrific shooting so they can scurry out and educate us again.
So let's look at this. Yes, potentially dangerous inanimate objects like guns, left alone, are harmless. Yes, there are a lot of people out there who want to hurt others (or themselves).
But you know what? The same could be said for Weapons of Mass Destruction or nuclear weapons, and yet we have invaded countries (Iraq) or threatened to bomb them (Iran) because they might have some.
Why? Because rational people understand that when you combine people who want to harm others with potentially dangerous inanimate objects, very bad things can happen. Either gun nuts are too dim to grasp this or they choose to ignore it (guess which?).
I would be more sympathetic to gun nuts if, say, the NRA used their huge stash of funds and their lobbying expertise to push Congress to fund research into why so many people go bonkers and use guns to hurt people - often their own family members, or to fund mental health clinics around the nation to treat those who are clinically depressed, suicidal, or paranoid. But, of course the gun lobby has no interest in reducing gun violence, because gun violence sells more guns! In fact I'll bet gun sales after this latest slaughter of little children are soaring ("Eek! The President is going to take our guns!!!!")
But let's be honest, better gun laws will only put a modest dent in gun violence because our country is already awash in guns. What will make a bigger difference is treating guns like the dangerous weapons that they are. If the Second Amendment is going to be interpreted as a right of individuals to own firearms, then society must insure those firearms are regulated and the owners are responsible. Every firearm must be registered. Every owner must be certified as responsible, with periodic background checks and attendance at periodic gun safety classes (something the NRA is very good at). We must rethink concealed carry laws and where they can be carried. We need to challenge the myth that an armed citizenry is the best solution to gun violence. It isn't. We must also demolish the dangerous myth that firearms in the hands of citizens prevent millions of crimes every year. Make the gun nuts prove it. The best they've been able to actually document is a couple of thousand.
I'm skeptical that the latest shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary will result in anything more than talk. We'll see. But one thing is certain, there will be more mass shootings in the months and years ahead, and someday the majority will see they've been duped again by the right and make some real changes to our gun laws.