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Let's get politics out of our gun laws

December 14, 2012|By Joseph Serna
  • A young girl at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., after a shooting there Friday.
A young girl at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., after… (Melanie Stengel / Associated…)

It seems to happen so often now that everyone knows what’s to come.

The shooting, followed by identifying the victims, identifying the shooter or shooters, then asking why. The media coverage lasts days or weeks but rarely, if ever, months. That’s because the hardest questions take the longest to answer, and time after time, politicians are afraid to ask them.

What could have been done to stop this? Or what could be done to prevent these things from happenning again?

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Perhaps nothing. Maybe the shooter was an upstanding citizen, sane by medical standards and legally permitted to own the weapons he used to kill 28 people, including 20 children, in  Connecticut. Perhaps it’s a situation like the Virginia Tech shootings, where Seung-Hui Cho was mentally disturbed and managed to get guns to slay 32 people.

But asking lawmakers at the state and federal levels to look at their laws -- asking if there’s anything that can or should be changed -- is not political. To argue that looking at gun control now, after so many shootings, is wrong would suggest that what we have in place is perfect. Maybe it is, but if 20 dead children -- many of them kindergartners -- isn’t enough to make our leaders ask, “Is every law in place being enforced the way it should be, or is there something that should be changed?,” then what is?

President Obama fought back tears Friday afternoon when he discussed the shootings.

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“This has happened too many times,” he said. “We’re going to have to come together … there needs to be some meaningful action, regardless of politics.”

Maybe there’s no clear answer, but the only way to know is if lawmakers are brave enough to ask the question.

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