The tragic murders Friday at the Sandy Hook Elementary School break the heart of every American, and that includes gun owners. Those of us who belong to the 47 percent of families who have a gun in the home for self defense are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, grandparents, aunts and uncles who think of our own little ones as we mourn the terrible scenes from Newtown, Conn.
It is human nature to want to find someone or something to blame for a tragedy like this. Parents want to find a way to prevent it from happening to their own children. The horror of a man so deranged that he could shoot a small child is almost impossible to understand or to accept. However, those who use this tragedy to call for more gun-control laws are misguided.
As I write this, the initial police reports say that the alleged killer, Adam Lanza, used his mother’s guns, which she had legally registered. He used two ordinary handguns. One was said to be a 9mm Sig Sauer — which is the same gun that I have at home for self defense.
The Sandy Hook school was a gun-free zone, meaning Mr. Lanza knew that no one could shoot back when he entered the school or the classroom. The shooting in July in a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. was also in a gun-free zone. Rather than engaging in yet another debate about the Second Amendment, perhaps we should be discussing whether security is enhanced or weakened by not allowing a school to be armed for self defense.
Dick Heller, who successfully sued the District of Columbia for the right to keep a gun at home, emailed me today about the shooting. “Just like in DC, there are ‘sensitive’ areas, ‘vulnerable’ areas where politicians know security is needed,” the Washington security guard explained to me. “Yet they still intentionally disarm everyone — sometimes even the ‘security’ staff — and create an inviting environment for criminals, the domestic violence-prone, and terrorists.”
Had one person been carrying a firearm in either Colorado or Connecticut, there is a good chance lives would have been saved.
No law can stop a criminal hell-bent on killing. When a person determined to do harm cannot get a gun legally, he will obtain it illegally. Even if the 100 million guns in America were rounded up and thrown into the ocean, there will still be murders.
In Oklahoma City, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols used simple fertilizer to kill 168 people, including 19 children under the age of six in 1995. In gun-free Japan in 2008, a former school janitor stabbed eight children to death in their elementary school.
In 1927, Bath Township, Mich. was home to the worst school killing in history. The school’s treasurer used bombs made with dynamite and pyrotol to kill 38 elementary school children. We can’t outlaw fertilizer or explosives or knives. Even if we did, the bad guys would just find another way to kill.
Murder is already illegal. So is assaulting a child. We have enough laws. What we lack today is the power to overcome evil. And in this broken world, where innocent five-year-olds are gunned down in their classroom, the only thing we can do is pray.