Another tragic massacre of 19 children and two teachers, killed by an angry 18-year-old with a semi-automatic rifle. The reflexive response from Congress is to offer thoughts and prayers for the families and defer any suggestion of tougher access to guns, saying this is not the time for politics. The country's seeming acceptance of the tragedy is infuriating. Surely this is not what the writers of the Constitution had in mind when they wrote the Second Amendment.
My response, seemingly futile, is to write Senators Shelby and Tuberville and Representative Rogers:
Following another tragic slaughter of American children and their teachers, it’s time for Congress to do more than offer thoughts and prayers and lamely suggest we arm our teachers.
No, I’m not suggesting we disarm America. I do respect the Second Amendment and know that most gun owners are responsible.
The Supreme Court has ruled that the Second Amendment is not without limits, and we accept the longstanding law restricting the right to own automatic weapons. So placing additional measures such as requiring background checks, increasing the legal age for purchasing firearms, and licensing some gun purchases seem like reasonable steps that won’t violate the Constitution.
Yes, I know those steps won’t eliminate gun deaths, just as seat belts and air bags don’t eliminate deaths from car accidents. Yet seat belts and air bags have measurably reduced deaths and were implemented as part of a continuous process to improve automotive safety. We should adopt the same philosophy to reduce gun deaths — particularly mass shootings.
Our children’s lives are sacred, more than the NRA’s talking points echoed by too many of our elected leaders. We must do more than offer thoughts and prayers. It’s time to explore reasonable options with earnestness and humility, honoring these children whose lives have ended too soon and so tragically.