‘We as a nation, we are left with some hard questions,” President Obama said at the memorial service on the Sunday after the Newtown massacre, and he is right about that. Too bad we don’t seem to be asking those questions barely two weeks later, as the debate has already deteriorated into another political brawl over gun control and little else.
Three days after his moving remarks in Newtown, Mr. Obama’s first act was to form a task force on gun control under Joe Biden. It will report next month, but already we know it will recommend more or less the same laws that prevailed in the 1990s or already exist in some states. A ban on certain “assault weapons” that are easily adapted to get around the law. A ban on large magazines that mean a determined killer can simply carry multiple clips. And more regulation of gun sales between private individuals.
None of this is likely to stop the next massacre, any more than the last rifle ban stopped the Columbine murders in 1999. Adam Lanza obtained his guns from his mother, who obtained them legally. Connecticut has an “assault” weapons ban, though it didn’t include the weapon he used.