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Gun-Control Legislation

Sam Crocker

July 30, 2013

Category: Society > Rights

Other than wondering why anyone needs an assault rifle and briefly pondering why stricter laws were not in place, I never gave much thought to gun-control legislation. That all changed on December 14, 2012, the day of the unthinkable tragedy at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.  I distinctly remember being in a state of disbelief as a friend and I stared into the TV while having lunch in Danbury, a town bordering Newtown. The next day I was numb, almost void of emotion. I live in Redding, also on the Newtown border. My doctor's office is in the Sandy Hook section of Newtown, not more than a quarter mile from the school where twenty innocent children ages 6-7 and six adult staff members were senselessly killed on a sunny Friday, eleven days before Christmas. Close friends lost a granddaughter that day. Columbine and Virginia Tech were upsetting and tragic events, but when something like Sandy Hook happens right next door, the emotional impact is indescribable.

Perhaps you can understand why, in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook tragedy, I have developed a passionate interest in stricter gun control laws. I realize tougher gun legislation would not have prevented what took place in Newtown, but the weapon used by Adam Lanza, a Bushmaster rifle with a 30-round magazine, does raise questions. In 5 minutes, 154 shots were fired from this rifle. Really, does anyone need to own a Bushmaster rifle or similar gun — even if it is legal. I think not!

I see Sandy Hook and other similar events as involving four separate but interrelated parts, as follows:

  1. Gun control
  2. Mental health
  3. Video game warfare and violence
  4. The seemingly unending violence in Hollywood movies.

Adam Lanza falls within the first three categories and probably the fourth, Hollywood violence, as well. His mental state has been well documented, but his ability to have access to a Bushmaster rifle — legally — does heighten one's awareness of the need for tougher gun-control legislation.

That Congress failed to pass legislation that would have expanded background checks on all types of gun sales, including those at gun shows and online, is unfathomable. I am hopeful that after the November elections and as we approach the one-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook tragedy, the issue of gun-control legislation will be front-and-center once again.

Now I know that expanded background checks alone will not necessarily prevent future tragedies, but they are a good first step. Maybe they're only a baby step, but a baby step here and a baby step there may just save some lives. The cynics would say bad people are still going to get their hands on guns, but I would say to them: "You cannot just do nothing. That is irresponsible."

I applaud the Connecticut legislature for having passed some of the strictest and most comprehensive gun control laws in the country. I fervently hope that other states will follow Connecticut's lead, despite pressure from the NRA whose leadership is certifiable.

With respect to a person's right to keep and bear arms under the provisions of the Second Amendment, I don't think stricter gun legislation requirements take away a person's ability to legally own guns whether for hunting, target shooting, collecting, or any other legitimate purpose.

The Sandy Hook tragedy has shaped my opinion of gun-control legislation. For Congress' failure to act on stricter background checks and tougher gun-control laws is a true disservice to all who have died. Baby steps. A life saved is a life saved.