Our editorial this week was going to focus on how Kennett Square councilors did an excellent job on this year’s budget. We were going to illustrate how council is investing in its future by agreeing to fund key capital improvement projects, all the while keeping tax increases at a reasonable rate.
But this week has been anything but normal. The massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn. is so unfathomable, so unconscionable, so evil, that we must take a stand. Six adults were killed, all women. Twenty children – 8 boys and 12 girls, all 6 or 7 years old – were killed. Many were shot multiple times at close range.
We can’t imagine the pain these families are going through. Every parent who has a child in elementary school can directly relate to the massacre. This event is a wake-up call that something is seriously wrong with our nation.
There is a renewed effort now for stricter gun control. But let’s not fool ourselves that putting a tight control on guns will solve this problem. It goes much deeper.
We feel there is no place for private citizens to own assault weapons. These weapons can carry large ammo magazines and can pierce through bullet-proof vests worn by police officers. The only use for these weapons is to kill humans.
A prior assault weapon ban expired in 2004 and wasn’t renewed. It didn’t eliminate the weapons entirely, but restricted their features and limited magazine capacity to 10 rounds and regulated pistol grips, bayonet attachments and flash suppressors.
The nation is crying out for our political leaders to take action. A ban on assault weapons is a start, but action must also be taken to limit straw buyers of guns too. This must be backed up with severe penalties.
These measures would not affect the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Americans would still have the right to own and bear arms. Guns capable of firing 900 bullets a minute weren’t available when the amendment was signed into law 221 years ago. We’re not surprised that the NRA has been strangely quiet since news of the tragedy struck.
Some people are claiming that more guns are the answer. They say that if we armed the seven million teachers in America, we would all be safer. Even Texas is now considering allowing its teachers to carry concealed weapons if they choose. This sort of thinking will take us back to the days of the Old West. Is that the direction we really want to head?
Consider this: There have been 62 mass shootings in the past 30 years. There wasn’t a single case where the killing was stopped by a civilian carrying a gun. Since 2004 when the ban on assault rifles expired, seven of those mass killings involved assault weapons, either semi-automatic or fully automatic.
We must take action on gun control, and more importantly, we must keep our citizens out of harm’s way. Most local schools are reviewing security measures. At nearby Concord School District, a security guard has been hired to greet visitors. It’s an added expense for sure, and one that taxpayers surely won’t mind in wake of the Newtown tragedy. But realistically, that lone guard will never prevent a madman intent on destruction.
Don’t think guns are out of control in control in our nation? Consider in the day following the tragedy, here’s what happened around the nation:
• Indiana: A man who owns 47 guns threatened a school.
• Alabama: A gunman wounded three in a hospital and was killed by police.
• California: A man fired 50 shots in a crowded mall parking lot.
• Nevada: A man murdered his wife and then killed himself at a hotel.
• Illinois: One man was killed and two women wounded in separate shootings.
• North Carolina: A man killed his wife and his mother-in-law.
Don’t believe the saying that goes “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” In reality, it’s people with guns who kill people.
This week, millions of Americans will be traveling to see their loved ones for the holidays. But for 30,000 of them, this will be their last holiday season. They will die before the end of the year. Statistics prove it.
We know for certain that 30,000 Americans will not ring in 2014 because they’ll be victims of gun violence.
That must end. People must contact their lawmakers and demand action.
Enough tears have been shed.