The assault weapons ban must be put back in place, immediately. If President Obama has to risk looking like "He's comin' fer our gunz," then so be it. We shouldn't have to explain to the parents of the next school shooting, "It wasn't the right time to talk about banning assault rifles and semi-automatic pistols."
Because if this incident doesn't immediately make it clear that a) there is no wrong time to talk about the ban and b) assault weapons have no place in society, period, I can't imagine what the hell a gun nut could possibly want to convince him.
There is absolutely no need for any civilian, not even an off-duty cop, to own an assault weapon. Period. Here we have a case of legally owned guns being used to slaughter dozens of innocent people. These guns were employed by someone who had authorization to use them, having fired them any number of times at gun ranges under the auspices of his mother.
As Michael Moore so deftly tweeted this weekend "If only Nancy Lanza had more guns, none of this would have happened." The Lanzas clearly had too many guns.
The answer, clearly, is not more guns. Indeed, no civilian in the past 30 years has stopped a mass shooting. Ever. Not once. Indeed, another gun tends to incite more gun violence, as anyone who lives in a deep urban area can attest. Or you merely have to look at this past summer's incident at the Empire State Building, where nine bystanders were injured by police firing upon the assailant. And they're trained in the use of firearms to the point they are warned not to draw unless its absolutely necessary.
It's also funny how when it comes to the Second Amendment, conservatives suddenly become so flexible, where on the rest of the document, they are strict constructionists.
I mean, I might be wrong, but back when the founders wrote that Amendment, you had to measure out black powder, pour it down the barrel of your musket or pistol, tamp it down with wadding, then stuff a lead ball into it. You took very careful aim because the barrel wasn't rifled so the ball didn't fly true (and besides, it was a ball so it was likely to veer off course anyway) and you looked "into the whites of their eyes" and you fired.
This gave you more than a moment's pause before you wasted a shot. Indeed, a miss meant you had to start the whole process all over again and risk being killed by your target, even with his bare hands. You couldn't spray a roomful of children like you were watering a garden.
It shouldn't be easy to shoot someone. It certainly shouldn't be easier to buy a gun of any kind than to buy a car and drive it. There ought to be insurance involved, too, since something like 80% of guns used in this country are legally owned, and that insurance ought to be goddamned expensive.
In New York City, it costs something like $500 annually just to own a gun, and another $400 or so to have a gun license of the most minimal permit (to keep a gun in your house.) That ought to be the minimum, the bare minimum, and then we can move onto defining what a gun actually is.
So conservatives? You want to be all "strict constructionist," how about here? How about we define a "gun" as something that cannot fire more than a bullet faster than every three seconds (I'm being very generous here, since it took longer than three seconds to load a musket)? Anything faster is a "military weapon," and therefore not covered in the Second?
There is not one legitimate argument for any civilian to ever own a military weapon.
MAS: Rich Abdill over at Wonkette has posted one of the best explorations of the counterarguments to the gun nuts in America I've ever read, thus neatly proving that we snarkcastic folks are really smart, too.