POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Dec 19, 2012
Some of the most sobering information to come out of the Connecticut massacre was the extent to which the psychopath who gunned down 20 first-graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School was armed.
According to state police, the gunman's arsenal included a military-style assault rifle and two semiautomatic pistols, with numerous 30-round clips for all three weapons loaded with especially deadly bullets intended to shatterand cause the maximum damage when they rip into the body.
He fired hundreds of bullets during his 10-minute spree, inflicting multiple wounds on each of the 26 victims, and had enough ammunition left to take out virtually every living soul in the 450-student school if police hadn't arrived to interrupt him.
We're not talking about guns here, folks; we're talking about weapons of mass destruction, and it's time the political debate shifted to recognize the distinction.
There's simply no credible rationale anymore for letting these murderous weapons loose in the general population to fall into the hands of criminals, the mentally ill and anti-government misfits.
We may as well arm sociopaths with nerve gas canisters and satchels of hand grenades if we're going to let them easily obtain military-grade firearms that have as much killing capacity.
Police officers on the street don't carry these firearms, and the public would be outraged if they did.
Nobody is suggesting werepealthe Second Amendment right to bear arms.
It's about protecting our children and other law-abiding citizens by using our well-established body of law that has long allowed reasonable regulation ofthe ownership and use of guns.
The hodgepodge of local laws ranging from strict controls in some jurisdictions to a Wild West free-for-all in others isn't working; if the most dangerous weapons are legal and easily obtainable in one state, they'll find their way into other states.
It's time for the president and Congress to stand up to the gun lobby and enact a national law that bans general ownership of military-style assault weapons and sets sensible rules and licensing requirements for owning and carrying standard handguns and rifles.
What other choice do we have? Texas U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert's idiotic suggestion that we arm principals with M-4s to protect their students?
If people want to own hunting rifles, pistols to protect the family, range guns or collections of Colt 45s, fine, as long as they're licensed at least as rigorously as for owning and operating an automobile.
But military assault weapons designed for a siege on Baghdad, no.
The National Rifle Association likes to argue that guns don't kill people, people kill people.
Maybe so, butlet's accept social responsibility and keep the most dangerous guns out of the hands of people who kill classrooms full of 6-year-old kids.
Reach David Shapiro at firstname.lastname@example.org or blog.volcanicash.net.