Editorial rightfully asks: If not gun control, what?

This is from a solid editorial in the Boston Globe that appeared today in the aftermath of last night’s tragedy in Colorado:

“It’s possible to view these episodes as a tragic but unavoidable consequence of Americans’ right to bear arms, just as auto accidents are a price of our freedom of movement. Yet carmakers and regulators work constantly, deploying new technologies and new laws, to limit the latter danger. If tighter gun laws aren’t the answer to mass shootings by deranged individuals, Americans have to take a hard look at the other possibilities. Frisking everyone who enters a movie theater, or an office park, or anywhere else large numbers of people might gather? Deploying, on domestic soil, the kind of ingenious tactics used against Al Qaeda terrorists? Surely the answer isn’t to simply tolerate these shootings.”

In other words, to those who oppose stricter gun laws: Please show us a plan that doesn’t involve arming every American up to their eyeballs. There must be an alternative.  We cannot continue to accept these kinds of disasters as unavoidable or inevitable.


  1. Sean D Sorrentino

    July 20, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    If not gun control what?

    There will be no gun control, so you might as well move on. You don’t have the votes to pass it and you don’t have the force to impose it.

    Maybe you should stop trying to impose new laws on me and others who haven’t done anything wrong. Maybe you should start trying to deal with the criminals and crazies. I realize that the criminals and crazies are your constituency, but for everyone else’s sake you should stop defending them and help us get them locked safely away.

    That is, of course, if you actually care about public safety. I remain convinced that you care more about power than about safety and you oppose guns because they are a check on your power.

  2. Frank Burns

    July 21, 2012 at 10:55 am

    In general, I oppose gun control but the question I have, do citizens need assault weapons? They aren’t used for hunting and were designed for military use only. I would suggest we prohibit citizens from owning M-16 type of weapons along with machine guns. These the weapons that poses the most risk to the public from the type of incident that just happened in Colorado.

  3. Jack

    July 21, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    Once again the story moves away from the dead the wounded and their families to gun control.

    The face of this terrorists attack is that of Holmes and the story has become gun control. All this moves the reality of the terror to the abstract and allows News outlets and the public to speculate for hours about who, what, when, where and why hour after hour. 

    As a result the reality of the terror is lost as are the people who are most affected by such terror. 

  4. Laurie

    July 21, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    The efforts of auto manufacturers to make safer cars has done nothing to prevent people from driving recklessly. The cars themselves do nothing that the people driving them don’t cause to happen. Same thing with firearms. And, tight gun laws didn’t seem to have any effect on the Norwegian mass murder that occurred last year.

  5. jlp75

    July 22, 2012 at 11:03 am


    Something you and I can agree on. I too believe that we can find a balance between protecting the second amendment and limiting the proliferation of assault type weapons that have no use in our society. You do not need an AR15 to hunt deer. You do not need an AR15 to protect your home and family. Things aren’t black and white. I am a moderate who probably lies some where just left of center on many issues. I also own a few guns for recreational target shooting and god forbid the protection of my home. I do not have an assault weapon or armor piercing bullets or anything military grade. I don’t need it. But then you have people like Sean D Sorrentino above who in their paranoid minds believe any effort to control such weapons is an attempt to round up every gun in the country. I have yet to hear anyone advocate for such a position. Please stop the hyperbole and paranoia, it does nothing to advance your position Sean. Moderate minded people like myself and the majority of others on the left and right are turned off by these all or nothing distortions. I would imagine that the majority of the American people (not the politicians) whether liberal or conservative fall really close to the middle on a wide range of issues facing our society.

  6. Tom Anderson

    July 23, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    The article closes with the retorical question that surely the only answer is not that we smply tolerate these shootings. I do not get the sense that anyone wishes to “tolerate” this act any more than they wish to “tolerate” deaths that occur from any other acts carried out by people that are insane, mentally distressed or just plain evil. Firearms, like bombs, cars, knives, and baseball bats are objects that only cause harm to other people when people use them in a harmfull way. It seems that we need to get better at identifying those that are mentally capable of carrying out such an act as this than spending our time trying deny our citizens a constitutionally guareented right given to them specifically so that they can protect themselves against an overpowering government. Look to the words of our founding fathers for the reasons they knew that an armed citizenry was the only deterent to a dictator.

    As to the comments about whether someone “needs” a particular type of weapon to hunt with (and AR 15 type weapons are used for hunting by some) or defend their home and family, the constitutional guarentee does not speak to the “need” for any specific type of weapon. That, in this free country, is left to the citizenery. It is not about what the government decides a citizen “needs”, it is about what a free and law abiding citizenery choose to protect themselves against a government that has the only arms.

    Words fail to describe, and we can very likely not comprehend, what it was about the mind of this person that allowed him to completely disregard the lives of those in this theater. It is clear,however, that he was smart enough to devise a way to kill many people with or without a firearm. If he had chosen chemical or biological agents the deaths could well have been greater and even more horrible than by gunshot.

  7. Mark

    July 23, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    First of all, too many opponents of gun control use straw men when constructing their arguments, so let’s get that out of the way beforehand. “Gun control” does not necessarily mean “banning all guns,” and in Amercan politics, no one seriously proposes such a thing. Proponents of gun control have no problem with law abiding citizens owning hunting rifles or even pistols to protect themselves and their families. What they do want is tighter restrictions on the sale, distribution and manufacture of firearms to keep them out of the hands of criminals. Examples include background checks, an assault weapons ban, a waiting period, licenses to own and sell firearms, stricter enforcement, etc. They do not imagine that this will end all crime by a long shot. They simply see it as one tool for keeping guns out of the hands of criminals. Wanting to limit gun ownership to law abiding citizens does not make you Hitler.

    Another argument opponents of gun control use is that gun control laws only take guns away from law abiding citizens while failing to keep them out of the hands of criminals. This rests on two assumptions: a, all guns are banned, which we have seen above clearly is not the goal of proponents of gun control; and b, lax enforcement. The first has been demonstrated to be untrue above. Proponents of gun control, with very few exceptions, do not seek to ban all guns. As for enforcement, while I will not deny necessarily that it is lax, I will say that much of this is due to inadequate gun laws and the resources to enforce them. The widespread availability of firearms in this country combined with very loose gun laws is what makes it so easy for criminals to get guns. Besides which, you cannot argue that enforcement of existing gun control laws is lax without conceding that tighter gun control laws or enforcement WOULD indeed have the intended effect. Proponent of gun control laws simply refuse to accept the fatalistic conclusion that it is impossible to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. That’s not to say that no criminal anywhere would ever be able to get their hands on a gun, but certainly we can do better than this.

    Finally, my question to opponent of gun control is this; where does it end? Are just firearms covered or just weapons in general? How about howitzers, .50 caliber machine guns, rocket launchers, tanks, nukes, etc.? This may seem flippant, but certainly your conception of the right to bear arms is not unlimited? I seriously wish to know, because I seriously doubt that anyone will ever convince me that MORE guns and MORE weapons are the solution to violence in urban ghettoes.

  8. Joe

    July 23, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    I’d love to see some gun control, but the cow has already left the barn. Personally, I believe that assault weapons like AK47’s, AR15’s and Barrett’s are only designed for one purpose: killing people. I wish these guns had never gotten into the market place. But they have, in huge numbers, and there’s no way to get them back. I also don’t see a reason for an individual to own a half a dozen semi-automatic pistols. Again, they are already out there, and there’s no getting them back.

    So, unless you’re prepared to take all existing guns out of the hands of their owners, don’t expect progress ever to be made on this front. And no, there will never be enough votes to begin a mass-confiscation.

  9. david esmay

    July 24, 2012 at 11:02 am

    Sean is living proof that the anti- gun control lobby is paranoid and delusional. The fact is, gun ownership is on the decline and has been since the 1970’s when 50% of American households owned guns compared with 32% today. Violent crime has been on a statistical decline for decades. What we see today is fewer gun owners, but more gun hoarders, and that is disturbing. There are 30,000 gun deaths in the U.S each year and 300,000 gun related assaults, many of them the result of domestic violence. So, Sean, more guns doesn’t equate with your theory that it is a matter of public safety. If you want to deal with the “criminals” and “crazies”, as Sean puts it, do so at the point of purchase. But this is what the NRA and people like Sean fight against, screening, waiting periods, etc. You need an ID to buy freaking sudafed, but you can walk into a gun show and buy whatever the hell you want with out a background check or waiting period.

  10. Frank Burns

    July 24, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    David, good point about the photo ID, we should also use that sudafed argument for requiring a photo ID to vote.

  11. david esmay

    July 24, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Frank, no, we should not. Voting is a right, sudafed is not.

  12. Elly

    July 26, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    I am opposed to most forms of gun ownership. In an ideal world, I would like for no one in America to own a gun. I would like all guns built for recreational use to be destroyed, and the creation of new ones to be outlawed. Am I crazy to think such a thing? Yes, because the gun lobby (and millions of gun owners and “recreational” gun users) would never let such a thing happen. And as others have said, it’s virtually impossible to destroy the innumerable amount of guns already in the hands of law-abiding citizens and criminals alike.

    So to prevent massacres like the one in Colorado from happening again – and it’s not a matter of “if” but “when” another will happen, kind of like the shootings in Arizona, and the those before that at Virginia Tech (remember that, or has it already fallen of the radar?) and Columbine, and the many more less-publicized mass killings that I am forgetting, I’m willing to compromise. I’m willing to compromise and say that assault weapons should not be allowed. Hunting weapons, sure. Simpler weapons without the capability to destroy many people at once, okay. Just please, PLEASE ban military-style weapons. The insane belief that these kinds of guns should be allowed is just a few degrees of separation away from the insanity that caused James Holmes to shoot up a movie theater.

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