Over the past few months, we have had a spate of tragedies that impacted people of every age and every walk of life. One of the common denominators tying the events together is the tool of choice was a firearm. The massacre that took the lives of six people at a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin, the slaying of two innocents at the Clackamas Town Center Mall in Portland, Oregon, the wanton and senseless murder of 12 movie-goers in Aurora, Colorado, and now the tragic death of 27 innocents, including 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut all involved a firearm.
As the country mourns the debate rages on about the tradeoff that exists between individual freedom and public safety. Each of these events highlighted the need to effectively and immediately address the proper balance between the right to bear arms and the right to public safety. That need is represented through responsible gun control laws, and these nine political figures seem to have the right ideas about gun control.
1) Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) the fourth-ranking House Republican: “We need to look at what drives a crazy person to do these kinds of actionss and make sure that we are enforcing the laws that are currently on the books.”
2) Bill Kristol, editor of The National Review: “Let’s have a debate about privacy laws and mental health.”
3) Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.): “Yet another unstable person has gotten access to firearms and committed an unspeakable crime against innocent children. We cannot simply accept this as a routine product of modern American life.”
4) Representative Jason Chaffetz (R–Utah): “I think we should absolutely talk about the intersection of a lethal weapon and how it relates to mental health.”
5) Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York City: “We don’t think the founding fathers had the idea that every man, woman and child could carry an assault weapon.”
6) Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) : “We need to do something, at the very least, perhaps, about the high-capacity magazines that were used in this crime.”
7) Senator Dianne Feinnstein (D-Calif.): “I'm going to introduce in the Senate a bill to ban assault weapons. It will ban the sale, the transfer, the importation and the possession. Not retroactively but prospectively.”
8) Mayor Michael Nutter, Philadelphia: “You can’t really escape the fact that more reasonable gun regulations and procedures need to be in place, a strengthening and tightening of the national background check system.”
9) Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia: “Yes, there are some limitations that can be imposed.”
The time to have an adult conversation on responsible, effective gun control is today, not tomorrow. The victims are crying out for us to have that conversation. It is high time we began to listen. As Representative Carolyn McCarthy (D- N.Y) put it, “The time to talk about it should have been after the last shooting or the shooting before that."