I understand the debate that is going around the country concerning gun ownership. The Second Amendment to our Constitution permits the citizen under certain limiting circumstances to own a firearm. There are approximately 330 million people in the United States. Although all do not own firearms, I would imagine that over half do own at least one firearm. Any country thinking about invading the United States will be in for a big surprise when grandma and company take to the streets and repel those that would threaten them.
But what about the automatic military style rifles? You know, the ones that fire 20 rounds in less than 5 seconds. Some would say they are not needed for self-defense. Others would say the Second Amendment does not prohibit ownership of such weapons. It is not the weapon but the criminal that should be taken off the street, they say.
School shootings are a horrific tragedy. Children should not have to worry about staying alive when they go to class. Would outlawing semi-automatic weapons stop the carnage? Sadly, I do not think so. Those that set out to kill people out of vengeance or mental illness will still find a way to obtain a firearm, even a semi-automatic military style rifle. There are just too many homes around the United States that have a firearm that could be stolen and used in a crime. Then there are illegal street sales, gun shows, and lawful purchases.
I do not have the answer. But the vigilance of the public is paramount. That is, if someone suspects that an adult or juvenile is unstable and prone to violence, they must report it and have it checked out. Law enforcement cannot do that alone. They need the help of the public. Many shootings can and will be thwarted if the most violent among us are detected and stopped before the killing starts.