Friday, March 15, 2013

But Seriously, Let's Ban Some Guns

It looks like there is impressive progress on universal background checks for guns.  And that's great, that needs to happen.  Now.  But it's not enough.

I'm going to put in this summary by Rachel Maddow of what happened in Newtown.  It's tough to listen to, but if we want to protect our kids and stop this from happening again, let's take off the blinders, step away from the talking points, and listen to what actually happened.

Then let's try to learn from it about how to prevent it from happening again.

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1. Universal Ammunition Background Check - We know Adam Lanza got his gun from his mother.  I haven't heard anyone talk about how he got the ammunition, but a universal background check on ammunition (as proposed by Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal) would help set up more red flag points for stopping people from loading up on ammunition in anticipation of a killing spree.

2. Crisis Training for Teachers and Students - more kids probably would have died if Newtown's teachers hadn't had lockdown training.  We prepare for fires, why not for other crises?  The more we can make crisis management routine, the better off we will all be in a crisis.  Putting kids into closets, placing black paper over the windows in the classroom, closing the doors, playing dead - these actions all helped save some kids and teachers in Newtown.

3. Ban High-Capacity Magazines - as Maddow says, in 5 minutes, Lanza fired 152 bullets.  He had to reload 4 times.  If he only could get his hands on 10-round magazines, he would have had to load 14 times.  That's 10 more times for him to screw up and be stopped, or for the cops to get there, or for the shooter to decide to kill himself sooner.  And I'm reasonably sure more children would have survived.  So while I'm sure it's neato to shoot high-capacity rounds at a range (couldn't you just buy a damn Wii, people?), what we are talking about is making killing people harder.  I just can't understand the priorities of somebody who thinks the former is more important.  I also can't understand the viewpoint of anybody who thinks a civilian has any business owning high-capacity magazines.  I think it's criminally-negligent that we haven't done this already.

4. Ban Assault Weapons.  If we ban them, there will be fewer produced.  There will be fewer available.  It's important to pair this with universal background checks and cracking down on straw purchases and providing the BATF with more resources, but in concert with those things, an aggressive assault weapons ban would have made it less likely that Lanza would have had access to the Bushmaster assault weapon he used to mow down children while they hid in terror under their desks.  Ban them.  Now.

And lest we should forget, the argument against these actions that would make Newtown less likely to happen again by the Gun Manufacturers and their front group of the NRA is this:

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