From an editorial in Saturdays Washington Post:
As President Barack Obama said in brief remarks Friday, there is no rational explanation for the massacre that occurred in a Colorado movie theater.
Such violence, such evil, is senseless, he said. And if theres anything to take away from this tragedy its the reminder that life is very fragile What matters at the end of the day is not the small things, its not the trivial things Ultimately, its how we choose to treat one another.
Theres something else that is senseless, though, and that is Americas gun laws. The temptation is not to mention this fact. Thats true partly because any mention of gun control is dismissed by gun-control opponents as an exploitation of tragedy. But its true also because weve all been worn down by the futility and repetitiveness of the debate. A massacre occurs; advocates of gun control point out the folly of total permissiveness; the laws do not change; the issue disappears until the next massacre.
Well, we plead guilty to repeating ourselves. There is no rational basis for allowing ordinary Americans to purchase assault rifles. Theyre not necessary for hunting, and theyre not needed for self-defense. The alleged shooter in Fridays crime came to the theater with two .40-caliber Glock handguns, a Remington 12-gauge shotgun and a Smith & Wesson AR-15 assault-style rifle. According to NBC News, the weapons were legally bought from local stores.
Yes, the Second Amendment protects a citizens right to own a gun, but it does not preclude reasonable regulation for public safety.
We dont expect this massacre to lead to more sensible laws. We understand the politics. Still, its disappointing that the president doesnt couple his words of comfort with some reminder of the common-sense regulation that could make such tragedies less common. The politics of guns will never shift if people are too cowed even to join the argument.