A nation in need of gun control

It’s been almost a month since 20-year-old Adam Lanza murdered 20 children and six adults in the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary massacre in Newtown, Conn.

Lanza used three semi-automatic guns during the attack — all of which were purchased legally by his mother, whom he also killed.

This should have never happened.

However, as shocked as we were that Friday afternoon, by Saturday morning many had filed Newtown with Aurora, Columbine and Virginia Tech in their mental Rolodex of American tragedies.

There have been 62 mass shootings in the U.S. in the past 31 years, according to Mother Jones, and 49 of the gunmen obtained their weapons legally.

We need to take control — more specifically, gun control.

Let’s start by getting rid of assault rifles.

In Michigan, residents can legally purchase guns when they turn 21. If they want a Concealed Pistol License, they just have to take a class and pay a fee. No tests are required, but a background check is administered.

Let’s put the background check  into perspective: In 2010, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System ran 16,454,951 background checks for firearm purchases. Of those, only 0.48 percent were denied.

After a background check, Michigan residents can purchase assault rifles and other firearms at local stores, including Walmart and Gander Mountain.

It’s all too easy.

An assault rifle, manufactured solely to cause mass carnage, should not be on your Walmart shopping list.

America was founded on a passionate belief of individual freedoms. Our country was bred and born in violence, and our gun history is deep-rooted.

Today, there are nearly 300 million privately owned firearms in the U.S., according to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The controversy about gun control didn’t escalate overnight. It’s been increasing for years.

So have the numbers of people killed in mass shootings.

No one cause should be the scapegoat. It’s time to stop placing the blame because pointing the finger is just as ignorant as pointing the gun.

Violent video games, mental illness … we don’t know why people do this.

But we do know what they do it with.

Instead of dealing with the obvious, though, people are actually rallying for expanded gun rights.

More guns, however, are not the answer. Gov. Rick Snyder confirmed this when, days after the Sandy Hook shootings, he vetoed legislation permitting CPL holders to carry pistols in more public places, including universities and churches.

Oakland University Police Chief Samuel Lucido said he, along with a majority of campus officials, is pleased the legislation was made with the provision, and expects it to appear with future firearm bills.

“I believe in the constitution and all of the amendments,” he said. “However, I believe that each university should retain the right to regulate the carrying of firearms on their own campuses.”

The veto is just a start. Firearms have no place on campuses or in churches.

In reality, we’ll probably never truly understand the complexities of the Newtown tragedy, or any of the other senseless massacres. We can spend forever dissecting the facts, placing blame and expressing sympathy.

But whatever the case, we need to do something, and it needs to start with getting assault rifles off the shelf.

The staff editorial is written weekly by members of The Oakland Post’s editorial board.


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