There's been some chatter that this is not the time to talk gun control. That doing so is politicizing this horrible tragedy.
Really? Was it too soon to talk safety right after the atrocities of 9/11?
Gun proponents will have you believe that Americans would be safer if everyone was armed. America has the most firearms per capita of any country on Earth. We also have the highest number of homicides by firearms of any industrialized nation on Earth. So if that assertion were true, wouldn't the homicide rate be significantly lower?
No, it's not soon to be talking about gun control. The head of the NRA recently blamed these mass shootings on violent video games. The fact is that Canada, France, The UK, The Netherlands and South Korea all have higher levels of per capita video game spending than the US. The total number of homicides in all of those countries, combined, is a fraction of what it is here in the US. No, video games are not killing people, guns are killing people.
What I'm asking for — along with millions of Americans — is that we at least try to take some action. Choosing ideological dogma over common sense pragmatism is never a winning solution. Let's learn and apply these lessons from real-life case studies.
In 1996, Australia witnessed its biggest mass murder ever — 35 people were gunned down by a deranged lunatic with a semiautomatic weapon. Almost immediately, the country banned all assault weapons and ammunition clips. Gun policies were tightened up and the government bought back more than 700,000 guns. According to a Harvard University study, 13 gun massacres (in which four or more people died) occurred in the 18 years before the law was enacted. In the 16 years since, there have been none. Zero.
The net result, from 1996-2006 Australia's homicide rate dropped by almost half. And it's also important to note that non-firearm homicides did not increase. This eliminates the argument that if you remove guns from the equation people will find other ways to kill people.
There are good ideas out there that have proven effective, the time for action is now!