With the tragedies of the past month, the renewed debate about what kinds of guns Americans should be allowed to own and how many bullets those guns can hold at a time has flared up again, quite a bit. It's no real wonder; this debate flares up around every mass shooting. The desire to do something or for something have been done prior that would spare the families their tears and loss is not only understandable, it is perhaps the most natural and reasonable of responses.
The problem, of course, is that those who do own firearms keep them for the same reason, very often, that those who oppose or wish to curtail firearms ownership wish them banned or limited: they don't want innocent people to die.
The impasse that has formed in the wake of this push and pull is nigh-intractable. The anti- side of the argument wishes to end or limit the sale of semi-automatic weapons, weapons of a certain caliber, detachable magazines of a certain size, etc. The pro- side offers that there are enough laws on the books, which ends up sounding very much like offering to do nothing.
And in the midst of this, people continue to die.
There is no real way in a free society to completely halt the deaths of innocent people by the hands of the insane, violent or murderous. The degree to which one would have to be monitored, the degree to which one's freedoms would have to be diminished, in order to ensure that the death of people by the hands of killers were stopped is abhorrent to the majority of Americans.
But at the same time, to throw up our hands and do nothing does not bode well for the possibility of preventing another slaughter. And if the ideas don't start coming from the pro- side of the argument, the exasperated American people will have no choice but to turn to the "ban, restrict" tactics of the anti- side, which have proven both odious and ineffective.
So, my questions are these:
If banning firearms by type of action or by magazine capacity was off the table, what would be the options? What can we do to stop firearms deaths without removing guns from the shelves of any sort? And if we aren't willing to explore these options, are more radical and ill-thought measures all we have left?