Bureaucrats and politicians and much of civilized society, too, believe in rules and laws. If there's a problem, you pass a law or amend a rule and the problem is fixed. Sometimes that works, often times not. It looks like our leaders will soon be writing new laws to deal with gun violence in the wake of the Connecticut school shootings. So will these new laws represent a paradigm shift in public safety or just be a symbolic gesture?
I expect to see new gun laws that will prohibit the purchase of some types of high-powered firearms and expand the databases that decide who can buy a gun and who can't. It's a noble gesture, something the public will welcome as it will make them feel they're doing something to relieve the pain we all feel when we think of those innocent children lost at Sandy Hook.
I expect to see school districts everywhere amend their school visitor rules, requiring more identification and explanation of intent before doors will be unlocked for them.
Good people will comply with these new gun purchase rules and will always knock politely and ask for permission to enter. Evil people will still buy their guns on the streets or just steal them and kick in whatever door is in their way. This is reality.
Keeping some types of guns off the streets isn't a bad thing at all, but with between 250M and 350M privately owned firearms out there right now it would be like assessing every adult another $1.50 in taxes and expecting that to balance our budget. This is little more than symbolism.
Let's get real. We have many mentally disturbed people living among us. Some slowly go over the edge or just eventually snap and do terrible things. These are the people we need to reach out to. We need to identify them and do something....really DO something....to help them. Right now any programs to help them are being increasingly starved for money. They're just pushed to the side by society.
In exchange for help they would have to give up their right to own weapons, and would be subject to frequent random inspection of their residences and belongings to confirm they remain unarmed. Anything we could do to assist them would no doubt be appreciated by them and even more so by their families who are desperate for help, and would make us all safer, too. Not just feel safer, but actually be safer. Win / win.
If we won't even honor "Thou shall not kill", what chance does another photo-op bill signing in Washington DC have?