The Political Ritual After Mass Shootings

Oct 03, 2015 · 646 comments
S. Franz (Uxbridge, MA)
We know when, where, and how much was purchased anytime anyone in this country buys Sudafed. No constitutional convention is needed to track sales of ammunition. There is no lobby fighting for fewer mental health services. Citizen's United does not have to be reversed to make a politician decline a donation. We lack courage, but not means.
Below is a summary of US Federal gun laws and who may not buy or possess guns. We do not need more laws we should be enforcing those listed below.

Those convicted of crimes punishable by imprisonment for over one year, except state misdemeanors punishable by two years or less.
Fugitives from justice.
Unlawful users of certain depressant, narcotic, or stimulant drugs.
Those adjudicated as mental defectives or incompetents or those committed to any mental institution.
Illegal aliens.
Citizens who have renounced their citizenship.
Those persons dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces.
Persons less than 18 years of age for the purchase of a shotgun or rifle.
Persons less than 21 years of age for the purchase of a firearm that is other than a shotgun or rifle.
Persons subject to a court order that restrains such persons from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner.
Persons convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.
Persons under indictment for a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year are ineligible to receive, transport, or ship any firearm or ammunition. Under limited conditions, relief from disability may be obtained from the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, or through a pardon, expungement, restoration of rights, or setting aside of a conviction.
Mickie Mc (South Dakota)
While the most recent gun violence permeates our news, and everyone — including the president — throwing up their hands as to what to do next, California, under the leadership of a San Luis Obispo father who lost his son to gun violence at University of California Santa Barbara last year started providing solutions.

Below are two CA laws that are now in effect that no one in the national media is talking about.

A.B. 1014: GUN CONTROL: Temporary Restraining Order For Gun Violence – (former D-Nancy Skinner-Oakland/15) – The bill puts prevents anyone served with a TROGV (Temporary Restraining Order For Gun Violence) from purchasing a firearm from a licensed dealer in California or possessing one.

TROGV’s can only be requested by a member of the person’s immediate family. Immediate family member —as defined in the bill — can be anyone who has lived with the individual over the past six (6) months. The definition includes roommates, girl or boyfriends.
S.B. 505: GUN PURCHASES: Police Policies – (D-Hannah-Beth Jackson-Santa Barbara/19) -Requires law enforcement agencies throughout the state to develop policies that encourage officers to search the state’s database of gun purchases as part of routine “welfare check” on a person who is potentially a danger to themselves or others.

The bill was prompted by sheriff’s deputies failure to detect the danger posed by a man who weeks later embarked on a deadly rampage in May near the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Jack (MT)
How about some suggestions?

1. Revisit the 2nd Amendment and read it as the plain English sentence that it is.

2. All military style guns are banned.

3. All high capacity magazines and clips are banned.

4. Concealed weapons are illegal except of law enforcement officials.

5. No guns can be transported through public space unless they are cased and visible.

6. All gun owners must register their guns.

5. All gun sales must involve extensive background checks.
Amanda (Santa Ana)
Without ignoring the numbers rising in mass shootings, and of course without hiding from how horrific this event was (and all of them are), you do not see perfectly healthy people carrying out these mass shootings. So while you may cry for stricter gun control, and I don't necessarily argue with that; you CANNOT deny or ignore there DOES have to be more concern and intention towards improving or increasing mental health services. I do not get upset when I hear of a presidential candidate calling for greater attention to be put on mental health issues. It is something that effects everyone on some degree.
Thank you.
Brian (New York, NY)
I think those of us in the anti-gun camp need to get realistic - not a single one of the more sensible, centrist ideas we have would have prevented this shooting. Yes perhaps a full-out repeal of the 2nd Amendment would put a stop to these events - but in the meantime, let's look at the long game.

We need to take our cue from the gay rights and pro-choice movements and see this as a cultural issue first and a policy issue second.

The gay rights movement has done a stunningly effective job at creating a shift in how people perceive homophobia and homophobic laws. The majority of Americans have embraced the gay rights movement because homophobes have been marginalized and put in their place (yes yes I see the current crop of GOP potentiates, and time will tell how their walk to the far-right will affect them in the general election).

We used to tolerate cigarette smoking in planes, we used to tolerate anti-sodmony laws - those things are now stomach-turners. We must make the very idea of owning an arsenal like this kid did absolutely disgusting. We can blame Washington and the NRA all we want and it's not gonna change anything - we must stigmatize assault weapons the same way that cigarettes and homophobia have been stigmatized.

And most importantly we must do it with love - we must compassionately listen to the other side as they rant and fume and stockpile, and we must not give up on them. Our children and their children will learn.
sukev (Denver)
Instead of trying to force politicians to come up with gun legislations, I have a simple proposal- open-carry policies in the premises of the US Congress. One will be surprised how quickly our house and senate members will come with common sense laws to increase safety, NRA or no NRA.
Vail Beach (Los Angeles, CA)
So? Now that you've scored a few useless partisan points, tell us what can realistically be done. Keep in mind two unvariables: The Second Amendment exists, and there are already 300 million guns in the US. Also, no "symbolic" fixes. Got anything?
Mary (Atlanta, GA)
Like most of the violent gun murders at schools, movie theaters, etc. in recent years, gun laws would not have stopped this tragedy.

Saying that I have always believed in gun laws. Our problem is what to put in those laws. A polarized extreme leads to nothing. Those against guns are against all guns. Those that want guns believe in no regulations or minimal. Both approaches are wrong.

Steele (Coloradom)
Lets not publish the names of the dead or even spend a minute lamenting their loss. Face it, their lives didn't matter. Not in comparison to the sacred "right " of the shooter to own as many weapons as he wanted. Obviously, our founders wanted guns to be more important than lives. What a great country!
Harry Hamilton (Columbia, MD)
When thinking of the causes of gun violence, I always recall the comments of an undergraduate anthropology professor many years ago who argued simply that humans have not adapted to gun powder. He maintained that most murders are acts of passion, driven by primitive triggers of the well-known fight or flight mode. That is, typically, when someone takes the life of another, the body is prepared for maximum expenditure of energy. Yet, all they have to do is move one finger. And the more powerful the weapon controlled by that finger, the more devastating the consequences. Perhaps he was on to something. If so, unless we are honest about the technology we have placed at the disposal of virtually anyone in our midst, things are likely to get worse long before they get better. Perhaps the popular bumper sticker should be altered to read: “Guns don’t kill people. People with guns kill people.” It’s the combination that’s deadly.
Thinker (Northern California)
I agree that Jeb Bush's "stuff happens" comment was insensitive. But is Nancy Pelosi's call for the creation of a Congressional committee to look into gun violence any better? We all wish these horrible tragedies wouldn't happen -- and I, for one, am in favor of making it tougher to get guns. But some of these horrible tragedies just aren't susceptible to governmental cures. No matter how strict we might make gun regulations, the mother of the young shooter in the Sandy Hook tragedy would have been eligible to own the guns she owned. Her son used her guns,

Just because a tragedy is a tragedy is a tragedy doesn't mean there's some governmental solution for it. Saying "stuff happens" was insensitive, but Bush's basic point was valid: this sort of senseless shooting by a mentally deranged person just isn't something that government can prevent -- unless government is prepared to significantly reduce citizens' rights to own guns (which I'd be all for but isn't in the cards here in the US).
Darlene (San Antonio, TX)
Regardless of your feelings about gun control, the facts are that, yes, we could enact some stronger laws, and, no, it would not have prevented most of these mass shootings. Even in a blue state with tight gun laws, a parent bought guns for herself and her son (Sandyhook). Most of these people buy guns one at a time from reputable dealers. They may not ever have been treated for a mental illness so they would not show up on any list. Criminals and gangs get their guns on the black market, and there will always be a black market. How did Prohibition work? Not well at all. In our society, we have the left out, the lost, the vulnerable, those who cannot compete with the overachievers and talented who get all the praise, those with apparently no conscience, and some of those, a very small number, will seek this kind of behavior. We probably need more trades and work-study programs and artistic options to interest these kids. And maybe some values or morality. We need answers to why, methods to catch them before they act out, and treatment if that is possible. Taking away guns is a political issue that can argued forever. But the person who can't get a gun might build a bomb.
k pichon (florida)
Gun Debate?? WHAT gun debate? There is no gun debate!. Guns cannot talk, but those human beings who wield them speak for all of humanity. Unfortunately. Guns Kill! Guns are designed, built, sold and bought to do one thing: kill a living creature. What else can be said? There are currently more than 300 MILLION - yes, MILLION - privately-owned firearms in the U.S......about equal to our population. Soon the REAL shooting will start.....just you wait.............
Carl Ian Schwartz (<br/>)
Jeb Bush's "stuff happens" comment was callous in the extreme, copies from his fellow Project for the New American Century ("PNAC") co-conspirator Donald Rumsfeld's comments on our inadequate armament for Iraq.
Jeb! does not deserve any public office. He and his buddies from PNAC belong in the prisoner's dock at The Hague as war criminals. Their participation in PNAC was tantamount to signing the attendance ledger at the Wannsee Conference.
HapinOregon (Southwest corner of Oregon)
Pro Life:

Anti birth control

Anti gun control
Victor James (Los Angeles)
Jeb happens!
Andreas (Sweden)
Here in Sweden we have our share of mentally ill people and there are hardened criminals with guns in most places. All in all the society is pretty similar to US. But for one thing, guns in ordinary homes. (Yes we have quite a few hunting guns but they are properly locked up and also pretty useless for murder.)
If one imagine a disturbed young swede who wants to hurt someone, there is just no way he could get his hands on a gun. Its almost unthinkable. If, by a long shot, he would know his way around hardened criminals there is not a chance they would sell him a gun. "I dont know nothing about guns, and besides, if I did I wouldn't be so crazy that I sold one to you", they would say. "You're just gonna do something stupid and the whole thing come back at me."
sukev (Denver)
As someone pointed out, cars are lethal weapons too. So let's use the same approach to gun and car ownership.
1) Mandatory gun use test.
2) Required gun license.
3) Database of every gun purchased under the license.
4) Mandatory Liability insurance, depending on the gun purchased.
There are people who steal cars and drive without insurance. But no one denies that the regulation of motor vehicles has dramatically increased safety.
alg (los angeles,ca)
If anyone purchases a gun illegally there is no way to catch him/her....
However, if someone purchases a gun legally for the first time, this gun owner MUST GO INTO A ONLINE DATABASE, that is monitored 24/7.
when this same person BUYS ANOTHER GUN, IT'S TIME TO RAISE THE RED FLAG, and go after that person IMMEDIATELY.
It's possible this is just a gun collector, but if it's someone planning a shooting of some kind, then the authorities will find out.
THE PROBLEM IS OUR COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY. It needs to be able to track all gun purchasers each time a purchase is made.
As I indicated above, ILLEGAL PURCHASES are beyond our technology for the moment. That's why we have security checks at airports etc.
I don't know the answer to this problem, but I have made statements about PRESIDENT REAGAN when he let out all the mental patients IN THE U.S., and closed down these facilities.
THEY NEED TO BE RE-OPENED. Now, I know that this next step will be difficult for PARENTS, but they need to know what to do if their child or children are mentally dangerous to the public. It won't hurt to have them evaluated. JUST DO IT.
We need LEGISLATION that makes PARENTS liable for their children if they commit acts of aggression on others.
should be a serious FELONY.
nzierler (New Hartford)
Is there any other democracy on Earth where an omnipotent lobby group (NRA) holds sway over its legislators? Until that gets straightened out, we will be able to only pray for the future victims of such mindless massacres, and given the escalating number of gun-related tragedies, there is no end in sight.
June Perkins-Eilenstine (Portland, OR)
I was so disappointed and angry when I walked into our local grocery store this morning and saw the Roseburg murderer's photograph on the front page of NYT. The first word in the lead article is his name. That gives the murderer all he could have wished for, and I'm sure is an inspiration to other lunatics out there who want to make a name for themselves. You can't imagine how heartbroken and angry we are here in Oregon.
Every one of the Republican candidates, including the drop-outs, make an appearance at the NRA convention in Nashville this past April. It is impossible that any of them will act in any way to reduce gun deaths and injuries in the USA.
Trover (Los Angeles)
We are a violent country filled with violent people. We solve everything with force. Negotiators are seen as weak. We are a gun culture and until this changes, all of the legislation in The world will not stop the violence. Police, gang, military, domestic. Violence is all we do.
Hector (Bellflower)
A man murders nine Americans in Oregon and our nation grieves and recriminates--an American bomber kills nineteen in a Syrian hospital and America yawns.
Simon M (Dallas)
Guns are OK everywhere according to our politicians except on Capitol Hill.
VB (San Diego, CA)
Well, heaven forbid that THEIR precious little lives might be negatively impacted!
John (Mill Valley, CA)
As pointed out by Mercer in his online communications days before the shooting, a great way for a lonely, disaffected person to get attention is to shoot people, and, he said, the more you shoot, the bigger a celebrity you become. So, it would seem obvious that the way the media covers these events is in fact a substantial cause.
Laurel (Rohnert Park)
President Obama has it spot on . . .he can't do this alone. Remember Mother's Against Drunk Drivers and the Movement they created? It worked, albeit didn't happen overnight. Laws were changed by perseverance and tenacity. We can all do it again. Yes We Can, right Mr. President!
President Obama made a big show of criticizing the NRA and telling Americans how it's their responsibility to get tighter gun controls implemented.

On the contrary, the problem is that gun control advocates are not a key constituency for Obama. They have no clout with him. If they did, he'd be taking controversial actions, pushing things through and going around legislators. He does it all the time.

You can tell when the president isn't really committed to something. He gives lofty speeches while not taking any action himself.
Robert (Out West)
Most gun owners and even NRA members, in point of fact, support at least three of the things the President has called for over and over: universal background checks, no gun show loopholes, and spending money onmental health.

Of course, you don't really care about any of that namby-pamby reality. Your point is to yell at the President: if he can't take action without Congress you'll call him weak and hypocritical, if he takes action without Congress you'll call him despotic and tyrannical.

This will happen again, of course. We'll pile up more dead kids and men and women in schools, churches, libraries, movie theaters, navy yards, all dead because you lot think it's strange to take the guns away from the young guys, almost always white, who do everything to tell us they're coming short of marching naked down main street firing a full-auto Uzi into the air and waving signs explanong who they hate most.
SMB (Savannah)
Another day, another blame President Obama for everything comment. Let's change your comment to match the truth. You can tell when Republican Congress people aren't really committed to something. They ignore when 92% of Americans want tighter gun control laws (including gun owners) and don't take any action themselves.

In fact, please blame the NRA also. They are the ones who own these Congress critters.
josie8 (MA)
We just hit a very low standard when Jeb Bush shrugs and says, "Stuff happens".
He's a prime example of what President Obama is talking about: Bush is immun/numb to all of it.
Mitt Romney uttered 47%...this is Jeb's equivalent of that remark.
Yes, stuff does happen and some stuff is preventable. This remark is unconscionable. How much does the NRA give to Jeb Bush?
Jeb Bush said a lot more than that. It's the equivalent of just quoting President Obama's, "I don't even think I have to react to that one," and claiming that he's too busy or aloof to engage on gun violence.

In other words, a completely idiotic interpretation of a few words taken from a much longer statement.
J Sowell (Austin, TX)
I read his entire statement. He would have been better served to find a more appropriate phrase than "stuff happens;" he communicated a callousness toward a tragic loss of life.
Geoffrey James (toronto, canada)
Bush made the valid point that legislation reacting to a single atrocity is usually bad law. But of course this isn't just a single atrocity, it's a whole string of horrors, and his "stuff happens" comment was hugely insensitive and tone deaf, and as Obama eloquently complained,reduced a mass slaughter to just another routine event in Americans' need to exercise their Second Amendment rights.
Patricia S (Tampa. FL)
Like most issues, we stand in our own experience and argue with "fools" who "just don't get it". Moving to Florida from the NE, I abhorred guns, as did my Canadian spouse. Living in the real world, where the grocery store parking lot isn't safe, where your teens cannot stop for gas after dark in case they are mugged and your neighbors have been car jacked and robbed, this soccer mom is a gun owner. Pandora's Box is open and the guns are on the streets. They are a required tool of the unemployable men and women on the streets that are robbing and shooting each other and those of us in the crosshairs. We aren't NRA zealots and hillbillies. When you have the luxury of a doorman or a gated, segregated home (the majority of NYTimes readers), guns don't make sense.
This is our reality:
Mnzr (NYC)
Do you live in Somalia?
BillOReits (NJ)
When Republican interests are at stake, no amount of murdered children or other innocents can amount to a hill of beans. But when it comes to attacking Democratic interests – i.e. Acorn or Planned Parenthood – suddenly the criteria changes as heavily manipulated videos gain the power to move mountains.
NW Gal (Seattle)
This is a very good read on the topic. I am always struck when this happens about certain things that remain and are little discussed. Yes, we need to keep weapons out of the hands of people who are emotionally unstable or mentally ill but I agree with you most on the weapons themselves. Do we need to obtain weapons that will destroy a body with a single shot?
I am most disturbed by the previous rants of the Sheriff and others on protecting the 2nd amendment. I wonder if he thought the amount of weapons and bullets obtained by the shooter was enough to prove the 2nd amendment is well protected.
I wonder when anyone in law enforcement sees the carnage after one of these senseless massacres if they think the 2nd amendment rights are in jeopardy. I would advocate that our society is in deeper jeopardy keeping this myth alive than in trying to discuss and deal with the problem.
I share POTUS' frustration and sadness. I really believed after Sandy Hook that something would change. This is a frightening price to pay to know that the government and Obama ARE NOT coming to take your guns and if candidates of faith and reason cannot even discuss it without saying 'bad stuff happens' then we are sunk in this nation and doomed to be Dodge city.
MM (SF Bay Area)
People with guns kill people. Prople with knives do the same. The difference is how many people die. And the person with guns can kill faster and kill more in a short time. This results in mass murders. The guns therefore are the problem in mass murder cases. The ability to buy lots of guns and ammunition is the root of this problem. Why does a person need 5 or 10 rapid firing guns and lots of ammunition? Why is this not regulated? Do we all want to die because there are no real controls on gun sales?
Joseph John Amato (New York N. Y.)
October 3 2015
This conversation is as much about, not only the politicians; but those in commercial and public leadership endeavors has stochastic consequences in all sorts of ways -let' either pull together and assess or fall victim to horrific events.
Mountain Dragonfly (Candler NC)
To all those who want to defend the right to their weapons, take note of this:
The Second Amendment does not "recognize and individual right to bear arms", nor does it say anything about use of them in self defense....

It actually says:
"A WELL REGULATED (important word!) MILITIA (Not individual) being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

So where is the harm of restricting arsenals, war-grade weapons, limits on ammunition, and licensing that would REQUIRE universal (meaning national) background checks and record keeping as well as training?
SMB (Savannah)
Maybe all gun owners should be required to serve in the actual militia - the National Guard.
WTD (Arizona/Colorado)
It seems that many, if not all, of these mass murders have a combination of guns AND body armor. There is no legitimate need for citizens to have body armor. While we try to find ways to have a more sane gun policy/laws, why not start with finding those who purchase body armor (even control it, since there is no constitutional right to it!). Examining those who purchase body armor might be a way to focus on those with evil intent to mass murder.
Dave (Albuquerque, NM)
Interesting that on a per capita basis, the US ranks 6th with more rampage shootings per capita in Norway, Finland, and Switzerland among others.
Franklin Schenk (Fort Worth, Texas)
There is an old saying "Figures don't lie but liars figure". If you take the data over a longer period of time, like 20 years, the US would be closer to the top. We may not be number one today but give us some time and we will definitely be number one. The bottom line is that the US is far worse than most developed countries and that is nothing to be proud of.
Geoffrey James (toronto, canada)
Says a defunct website.
Andreas (Sweden)
Those are really small countrys who just happened to have ONE shooting in those years, which bumbed up the numbers a lot. That table is almost totally useless in this context.
Stan C (Texas)
Here are some data on the current topic of guns in the US (and elsewhere).

I recommend at least a brief look:
LW (Helena, MT)
It's time to call for a congressional investigation of the NRA.
S. Franz (Uxbridge, MA)
Or a congressional investigation of Congress.
Karl Gude (East Lansing, MI)
I wrote a Huffington Post article yesterday titled "Hello...Moderate Gun Owners. Where ARE You?" wondering why there isn't an organization for moderate gun owners, ones who are horrified with the killings and want to help to stop them, yet keep their guns. I believe they're the majority of gun owners because extremists always tend to populate the fringes of an issue, and there’s every reason to believe that the gun issue mirrors political parties, where extremists are loud, but the minority.

The solution to this problem is going to be complex and require a blend of several relevant issues, like mental health care, but guns have to be at the table. Who better to help stop killings than the people who know guns?
Trover (Los Angeles)
Moderate gun owners? Let's kill defenseless animals for sport! We are just a vile people. Let's invade Iraq. Let's bomb and kill. I am fed up wit all of it.
Over 150,000 deaths by gun violence since 9/11. Isn't that a terrorist threat? Aren't terrorist threats covered by the revised Patriot Act. The President should declare easy access of guns a terrorist threat and have Homeland Security declare and enforce a new tough background check reg. Maybe end availability of all automatic guns. Could done almost immediately.
Trover (Los Angeles)
We are a violent society. Period. From police to gangs to military to donestic/ all violent. The latest shooter was mentally ill in combination with knowing only one way to stop his pain : violence.
Jim David (Fort pierce)
I don think it's all ritual. Because there are solutions. Like identifying all anti-socials early. And preventing them from being given PC awards.
David X (new haven ct)
President Obama asks a logical question:

If gun violence is caused by mental illness,
--does the US have more mentally ill people than other countries
--the the vast gun violence in the US caused by our having so many guns?

I'd add that the more gun violence in our lives, the more of us become mentally ill to some degree. Our most profoundly mentally ill model themselves after others who have acted out with guns. Others of us suffer PTSD from events that have occurred. All of us live in low-grade fear to some degree. And some of our friends from other countries are afraid to visit us here in America.

Treating our mentally ill compassionately is always the right thing to do. Providing them such easy access to guns is compassionate to no one.

Our elected officials show consistent lack of spine when confronting one-issue political groups. The NRA is a nasty, ugly organization.

Friends of mine who've been in combat dropped out of the NRA in protest to the group's insane remarks. No one who's been in combat thinks that guns in the hands of untrained, unprofessional individuals will lesson our nation's plague of gun violence. The NRA works for the profit of the gun industry. The fact that it's a non-profit makes me puke.
skfinkel (seattle)
From your own opinion piece: "In a 13-year study, analysts found that while the average number of annual shooting sprees with multiple casualties was 6.4 a year from 2000 to 2006, that number jumped to 16.4 a year from 2007 to 2013. The study found that many of the gunmen had studied previous high-profile shootings and were attracted to the attention that mass killers received when they staged lethal attacks."

Why then place this man's picture and biography of the front page of the NYTimes?
S. Franz (Uxbridge, MA)
We laugh at hate speech from wealthy political candidates on Monday, let our leaders cash checks from the weapons industry on Tuesday, cut the taxes needed to pay for Mental Health programs and family supports on Wednesday, and grieve for our children on Thursday.

So what will we do next week?
Pottree (Los Angeles)
If history is any barometer, we will repeat the sequence until everyone is dead.
MRW (Berkeley, CA)
Every day in the US people are killed by guns. Mass shootings are just the tip of the iceberg of gun violence in this country. Every day we need to see the numbers and put faces on the victims so maybe we can change our culture's love-affair with guns.

During the Iran hostage crisis in 1979, CBS news at the end of every broadcast, showed how many days had gone by since the hostages were captured. This kept the issue alive and helped influence a presidential election.

I propose that the NYT and other news outlets each day put out a tally of how many people were killed and injured by guns the day before, along with a YTD tally, and then publish a photo and short statement about a victim of gun violence either using the words of loved ones or the victim himself (similar to how Humans of New York does). Let's put a real human face on this!
James (Washington, DC)
I have an idea: How about we end the insanity defense and make people responsible for their actions? A lot of these loner crazies would be stopped before they committed another crime.

Just because an alcoholic kills a family of five when he is speeding on the wrong side of the road, do we deny cars to everyone? Of course, not even though there is no specific Constitutional right to drive cars.

Harsher punishments for all violent crime, less concern about the rights of the mentally unbalanced and an emphasis on personal responsibily would likely reduce gun violence to what it was a few generations ago -- i.e., not much and concentrated among gangsters.
Yes, and let's impose a media blackout on all future gun killings. One guarantee that the next mass killing will occur is the sensationalized coverage of the last one. These news reports do not go unnoticed.
Charles (Long Island)
Media blackout. Seriously? Yes, especially since the lack of media coverage during the holocaust was so effective in making sure it too, was unnoticed and, as a problem, unanswered as well. Media "blackouts" are hardly a recipe for a society that hopes to remain democratic and free. I understand and share your frustration with the politics of the day, but honestly, the hyperbole?
Susan H (SC)
In America people with mental problems can easily get guns and try to make others join their suffering. In Ireland, they write amazing plays and paint powerful pictures. See today's theater section article on Brian Friel or Google Francis Bacon for just two quick references to those who chose to express their pain and loneliness in more constructive ways.
NYerExiled (Western Hemisphere)
Nothing illustrates the stark cultural divides in the United States more than the issue of guns and gun ownership. Nothing will create internecine conflict faster than a policy of weapons confiscation, which many gun owners believe is the progressive end game. Responsible gun owners are well versed in weapons safety. Go to any gun club or firing range and you will see that safety, both in use and storage, is always paramount. The "gun control" philosophy is largely driven by urban liberals on either coast who deride the "bitter clingers" in flyover country. Wonder what will Bernie Sanders say when pressed on this issue? Gun control may sit well in Ben and Jerry's Vermont, but won't with most of Bernie's constituency.
Pottree (Los Angeles)
So, if you don't grow up with guns and gun culture -for example, you're from Jamaica Estates, Queens - you are not very likely to be a bigtime gun rights supporter. But if you grow up in someplace so flyover pretty much nobody would go there unless they live there, such as rural OK, you are inculcated from birth into the urgency of bearing arms and you catch the gun fever like you'd catch a childhood disease?

So, were we all being honest, what will The Donald say about all this? I lived in Queens myself, where only the cops and the bad guys had guns and you almost never ran into anyone who thought about hunting animals which called for a schlep upstate at the very least.

Yes, it's part of our cultural divide. But a city-guy looking for votes can say he's for gun freedom galore. What would happen to someone running in Nowata, OK?
B. Rothman (NYC)
I lay the blame for these mass murders by young disordered men to the right wing members of the Supreme Court and their own politically disordered thought process. The Second Amendment clearly has gun ownership as part of a militia. It in no way presupposes that citizens are entitled to gun ownership without government oversight.

Unfortunately, the Court decisions on this issue have allowed only for minimal oversight and the gun manufacturers, true to the free market, have maximized the psychological need that some people have to own something just because they can. The nation is now as tied down as Gulliver in any effort to provide any kind of protection to the citizenry at large.

As with other recent Supreme Court decisions, destruction of the democracy and the lessening of security is the consequence of reactionary beliefs that posit no reciprocal responsibility to the community. Their decisions have not "provided for the general welfare," but rather the reverse, elevation of predatory elements without restraint.
Australia, Great Britain and others have found a way to reduce, if not eliminates, mass shootings and gun violence. What is wrong with us? The founders never envisioned the perverse interpretation of the Second Amendment that the NRA has foisted on America for the sake of a "cowboy" ethic. The Alito/Scalia "take-no-prisoner" gun mentality has insulted the basis of our country's founding. This is the democracy that we want others to emulate? I think not.
DaDa (Chicago)
Actually, only the mass shootings get what's become 'The Routine' The hundreds of daily shootings go unnoticed. Like this spring, when 108 people were shot in one weekend in just 3 cities: Chicago, Baltimore and New York. These are so common, they don't even get the cliche of a ritual condemnation.
Jim Cunningham (Rome)
If an Iranian agent killed nine US citizens on a college campus, we would bomb them into the stone age. But a US citizen kills US citizens ... well stuff happens.

Has it occurred to the NRA that the founding fathers were referring to single shot muzzle loading muskets when they proclaimed we had the right to bear arms?
Pottree (Los Angeles)
The muskets to be used in the service of a well-regulated militia.
EB (Seattle)
Is there a starker indication of how deeply dysfunctional our political system has become than the persistent unwillingness of both Republicans and Democrats to address the gun issue? We went to war twice when terrorists killed 3000 on 9/11, but our government does nothing in response to the ongoing death of 30,000 from guns each year. We tolerate repeated killings of our children at schools and colleges by disturbed young men carrying an arsenal of guns, and become numb to the dreary repetition. the NRA prospers from stoking fear that the "government" will take away one's guns, and uses the wealth they generate from this fear to intimidate politicians from even talking about gun control measures. And we get creatures like Jeb Bush, a potential president, dismissing the latest slaughter of the young by saying that "stuff happens." The NRA should be declared a terrorist organization for supporting the murder of US citizens and banned from raising money or donating to politicians. Politicians who demagogue on gun control should be thrown out of office. All of our "leaders" should be held accountable for their failure to engage in serious discussion and action on gun control.
Marie (Luxembourg)
When considering countries for our son's university studies, we excluded the U.S., one of the reasons was the gun culture which leads to these terrible shootings of young people.
Pottree (Los Angeles)
It's dysfunctional in this way: mentally ill people are pretty easily able to get their hands on military-style weapons and all the ammo they can carry. This is because some other people believe they are entitled to all the armaments they "need" by the Constitution (side-stepping the concept of a well-regulated militia).

So, why do so many people so strongly believe they need military-grade weaponry, or just rifles, or just handguns, or concealed carry permits? If it weren't so commonplace, it would seem paranoid that millions of people feel they need to be armed to the teeth all the time to protect themselves. What are they so afraid of?

Answer: the BIG PROBLEM - government. They are afraid the government is going to come after them and they'll have to defend themselves against their own government. Where could they have gotten such a nutty idea?

Ronald Reagan. History of the KKK. Fox News. Rightwing radio broadcasters. The Internet. All those fleet of black helicopters sneaking into town under cover of darkness.

Is this mass paranoia... or mass alienation, caused on purpose, by a GOP that knows it's on the wrong side of history and is desparately trying to keep its head above water as it goes down for the third time?
Lynda (Gulfport, FL)
In addition to "easy" access, there are simply too many guns in the US.

I understand hunting for food; I come from a family where children were given a single shot 22 rifle at age ten, brought to a gun range and taught how to shoot that rifle and how to handle guns safely--in my case by by grandfather who was a police captain. Although my father did not hunt after returning from WW II, the other men in his family did because their families needed ducks and venison to eat because jobs were seasonal where they lived.

I understand organized competitive target shooting. Shooting sports are part of winter Olympic games.

I understand gun "collectors" who need to own and display historical guns.

I will never understand so-called "trophy" hunters who kill and display in barbaric fashion their "kills" bought by exploiting needy people in foreign countries. I will never understand people who create "targets" from photos of real people. I will never understand people who shoot into the air or at cars on a street never caring where their bullets go or who those bullets kill and injure.

And I will never, never understand why any normal, healthy person needs to own as many guns as the current system allows them to buy. Guns they keep loaded and available for children or the mentally ill to use.

President Obama is right. We need to vote--as Australia did--to limit the number of guns in the US because people are using those guns to kill. My one issue will be gun safety now
Charles (Long Island)
It's amazing the local elected sheriff, had a series of anti-government posts on social media and links (quickly removed after this tragedy) to "wacko" YouTube conspiracy videos suggesting, for example, that Sandy Hook parents were faking their grief.

The local mayor (also an assistant principal), when asked in an interview, could not bring himself to even mutter a word about the problem with guns yet, I'll bet, if any of his students had similar posts and links there would have been suspensions and investigations.

Can such "leaders" be taken seriously at this point?
Here (There)
Other than the fact that you disagree with their opinions, they seem to have acted competently throughout.
VB (San Diego, CA)
Well, they HAVE to be taken seriously, because they keep getting elected. To the everlasting harm of the rest of us.
Bill (NJ)
Speaking of mental illness, American voters must be crazy to keep reelecting these hypocrites who are pro-life for fetuses and pro-death for victims of mass shootings.
Dave (Albuquerque, NM)
How can we have any discussion when people put up ridiculous assertions like yours? Pro=death for victims of mass shootings?
Bill Chinitz (Cuddebackville NY)
The U.S. governments catatonic approach to mass shootings.

The "Coulda Wouda Shouda" approach to mass shootings, is the generally approved way it come to terms with those tragedies.
That's the approach for "preventing" events that have already happened. The argument is; until we can go about preventing mass shootings in the past, we realistically can't do anything about preventing them in the future.
JD (San Francisco)
When The Editorial Board answers the question...

The same guns, with the same power, have been available since 1955,1965,1975,...

In High School many kids has rifles on a rack inside their pick up trucks. This wa within 70 miles of San Francisco. This was in the 1970's.

If the core problem is with easy access to guns, then why is this a recent issue?

The Ed Board's analysis and logic is faulty. Therefore, one can only assume they have an agenda as opposed to a wish to deal with the issue in a rational matter.
Here (There)
Justice Scalia, as a teenager, was required to bring a rifle to school every day (in New York City) and he and his classmates took the NYC subway. No one called the police.
Zejee (New York)
An agenda? Do you think perhaps that some of us value lives more than guns? Is that the "agenda" you wish to expose?
TheHowWhy (Chesapeake Beach, Maryland)
Mr. Bush lives in a another world where body guards, state troopers and local police shield him from the risks our children face in what is becoming routine. He cannot relate to the lifestyles of the common citizens where "Stuff happens" routinely. Yes ----- things happen but the damage done in terms of human lives lost is without a doubt exponentially increased when killers use guns designed to instantly kill great numbers of people. When someone you love or know gets murdered with a gun . . . it is not stuff but lose of life that causes pain and suffering.
Mike Baker (Montreal)
Am I the only one who's come to the only certain conclusion regarding gun violence? Of course not: Tens of millions of Americans (as well as a greater number observing from beyond America) understand that the congressional pathway to sensible public policy with respect to this issue is blocked. The question becomes: why does the sane cohort of the population persist in expending more intellectual capital on pursuing recourse through Washington? If that's not a stubborn streak bound by a lack of imagination ...

Congressional action on the issue has been snared and choked by a syndicate that launders gun industry financing and donations from a minority subset of voters into all-in bribery of elected officials. And as if that wasn't enough to make your democratic skin crawl, then the sorts of threats emanating from the NRA should.

I once asked a Mensa friend a delving question: What made him so much smarter than me? He answered with a metaphor about trying to get into a locked house. The average intelligence insists on twisting and shaking the front door knob and the odd kick to the door frame. A Mensa, he said, instantly concludes that the front door is a no-go then quickly turns to walking around the house looking for better options, be they windows, storm doors, etc.

The tobacco industry was once thought unassailable. Until well organized class actions clobbered the myth. Guns are far more unhealthy than cigarettes. So what are the options, if not Congress? Hmmm.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
Gun regulation and competent Keynesian fiscal policy are kept from us by people who think God is opposed to these policies.
Conservative &amp; Catholic (Stamford, Ct.)
I would like to see the media and the politicians recognize the Christian martyrs who were killed in Oregon because of their faith. They are quick enough to recognize the same when Muslim terrorists die for their faith. The difference here is the Christians are dying for being Christians; the Muslims are dying killing other people.
Bill Chinitz (Cuddebackville NY)
They died as martyrs, from a deranged interpretation of the 2nd Amendment.
Geoffrey James (toronto, canada)
A lot of Muslims are dying because they belong to the wrong sect.
Greg (Atlanta)
Are there common sense regulations that could be enacted that would increase public safety in gun ownership? - of course there are. But as long as there are blocs of lunatic liberals calling for gun bans and confiscation, nothing can be done.
jim (boston)
Pure demagoguery. Accuse the other side of saying something it's not actually saying. I'm not denying there are a few people on the left calling for outright gun bans and confiscation just as it would be ridiculous of you to deny that there are people on the right who believe there should be no regulation at all. Thing is, both of those extremes are a distinct, though depressingly vocal, minority. I think the true reason no progress can be made on enacting sane gun regulations is inflammatory comments like yours which are designed to inflame and polarize. Your comment offers no solutions - it just adds to the noise.
Zejee (New York)
The liberals are the lunatics? No, the gun nuts are the lunatics. And you are right -- nothing will be done. Nothing.
Phil M (Jersey)
Republican mantra.... Protect the unborn, could care less about protecting the born.
working stiff (new york, ny)
This is an even more foolish editorial than most in the Times. The Oregon shooter could have owned 100 guns, but apparently needed only one to do what he did. The problem with these mass shootings is that loonies are at large on the streets. I seem recall the Times in years past endorsed releasing loonies from the funny farms, loonies who then have gone on to push people in front of subways, commit mayhems,of various sorts, etc. The real villains are people who think and write like the editorial board of the Times.
Zejee (New York)
Of course, the shooter was considered sane enough to amass a lot of weapons and ammo. And btw, cutting funding for mental health care is part of the Republican agenda, as you well know.
karen (benicia)
In California, it was the Apostle St. Ronnie who emptied what you so disrespectfully call the "loonie bins." All of us have suffered ever since.
N. Eichler (CA)
I did not find mention of the Oregon mass shooting on either John Boehner's or Mitch McConnell's official websites and I looked just moments ago. No condolences, no statements proclaiming how 'deeply saddened' they are, no recognition there has been yet another of these endless and preventable tragedies.

No acknowledgement of yet more stupid deaths, or that guns should not be so easily available, especially assault weapons, no discussion about background checks - nothing, nothing, nothing.

Well, Jeb! has reminded us that 'stuff happens,' Trump, avoiding talking about this shooting, states 'It's so hard to even talk about these things.'

President Obama is perfectly correct - this is a political issue and we see how politics surpasses safety for citizens in the callous and cowardly zeal for power and money. One wonders if any of these Republican cowards would be 'deeply saddened' if any of their children, parents, spouses were killed in a mass shooting? Probably not.
jeff f (Sacramento, Ca)
Easy access to guns is certainly a factor but I think it is our attitude about guns, in other words our gun fetish, that is also a factors. In our minds guns aren't simply tools they are symbols of freedom, of self assertion, of refusing to be a victim, of imposing one's authority, of defending yourself from real or imagined slights, of telling the world that you are important, of solving problems the American way. Some form of gun control is not merely a restriction on easy gun availability but would be a signal that our love affair with guns is cooling down and that chest thumping bravado is not cool.
Katherine (Teaneck, NJ)
Despite all of the intelligent and well reasoned discourse, the power of the people is no match for the power of the NRA. Particularly, when we elect a tone-death Congress unwilling to treat gun control as a priority issue. Ten years from now, we will be having the same conversation on the heels of yet another heinous massacre with no resolve. (Frenzied demands for gun control are rarely precipitated by Chicago-styled gun murders.) The canned script will be the same: death and despair; populous outrage; politicized discourse - repeat. Face it: the people have been out-gunned.
Thomas (Maine)
Clearly some sort of national gun access legislation is warranted. Overcoming the political opposition will be a daunting task, but that should not dissuade our leaders from doing so. Opponents will likely advance the "slippery slope" argument against even the most modest controls. Although potentially a valid argument, it pales in comparison to the public safety issue.
Another argument is potentially more troubling: that of government overreach. While most advocates of gun control (myself included) tend to dismiss this argument as frivolous, one need only look back less than 100 years in our history to see actual examples of this behavior. When J Edgar Hoover and friends were arresting people during the so called "Red scare" individual rights and freedoms were being ignored en masse. This may not be relevant to today's society, but it gives a student of history pause to think.
Jim Evans (California)
The victims of these mass shootings as well as other murders committed with guns are simply collateral damage in the ongoing political argument over guns. No surprises here.
Danielle (Chicago)
I wonder why the reactive calls for stricter gun laws that follow these increasingly commonplace tragedies have largely failed to evolve from one mass shooting to the next--every time we bemoan how frequently this occurs, we say we need to impose stricter gun control laws, Republicans put forth the mental health argument, we argue a bit in a simplistic way, then we get bored. I feel like it's time to call for more thoughtful gun control laws, rather than stricter gun control laws that always incite every right-wing troglodyte to panic about reduced freedom, effectively resulting in an emotional, and wholly unproductive conversation about gun violence.

Though this is admittedly anecdotal, I'm a woman in her late twenties who has never fired a gun and has no history of violence or aggression, but I also have severe Major Depressive Disorder and occasionally receive services in hospitals. Accordingly, at present I'm ineligible to own a firearm in my home state of Illinois until 2019, not that I have an interest in having one, anyway. Still, it makes me wonder if our laws tend to favor generalized restriction rather than a substantive, effective examination that should precede firearm ownership. It's a conversation that won't happen in this polarized political context.

Oh, and quick note to republicans about mental health--my state's republican governor cut Medicaid access a couple months back, so I can't afford treatment anymore. So, if you want to play that card....
bounce33 (West Coast)
There are things we can do. Give money to a gun control organization. Ask politicians about their stance on gun control and make it clear that you want more and better controls. Ask why there is no federally funded research into this giant "health" problem. Why are there no public service announcements about safe gun handling and storage? Ask for more money for mental health evaluation and counseling. Mostly it's a matter of speaking up and putting our money into politicians and organizations that promise more and better control. That is something every individual can do.
kg (new york city)
As I write this comment, there are 1,165 wildly divergent opinions on the issue of gun ownership, gun violence, fecklessness in the face of slaughter and the gun lobby, interpretations of the 2nd Amendment, mental health vs. easy access to guns, etc., etc, ad nauseum. Ultimately, and once again, a great sound and fury, signifying nothing.

For those who question why mass killings like this continue to occur -- this is why. That we Americans cannot reach consensus on why blasting ourselves to bits is not a good idea is why it will keep happening and why this does not happen in other countries. Other countries long ago concluded that the circular firing squad wasn't good for the general welfare. We haven't yet. Aren't we special?
Zejee (New York)
You see, Americans love their guns more than they love their children. Isn't that obvious?
Jeff (Placerville, California)
No one should be allowed to amass firearms. No one should be allowed to own military style firearms. The sale of high capacity magazines should be illegal. No one should be able to get a gun without a thorough background check. no one should be allowed to carry firearms into schooled, hospitals malls and anywhere else people congregate.

I am not against gun ownership. I own one myself. I am against the gun industry and its shill the NRA controlling gun legislation. The gun industry and the NRA even had its congressmen and senators pass a bill making it illegal for the US department of Health to even collect data on gun deaths. The Department of health can't even collect statistics on how many children are accidentally killed by guns.

ClearedtoLand (WDC)
Alarming that a major newspaper immediately parrots the administration's gun control plan, dismissing mental health issues and prior records, when in today's Times an excellent article on "How They Got Their Guns" makes it clear that bureaucratic errors and failures are behind many of the gun sales that resulted in mass attacks.
Zejee (New York)
Don't worry! No gun control! More gun massacres! Yes!
Scott Rickman (San Francisco, CA)
Words, words, words. That's all we get after these tragedies. As a gun owner, I think there should be more restrictions on gun ownership. But it's not going to happen. Our representatives in Washington can barely agree to keep funding the government. I doubt they can reach any agreement on something as complicated and contentious as gun control.
C.L.S. (MA)
Why not copy what Canada has? All guns (and ammo), of any kind, can only be purchased with a license, and then are registered in the owners' names. What's wrong with that? Dialogue please, ......
Zejee (New York)
No gun control! We love our guns!
Pro-Gun Lefty (South Carolina)
The answer is the Second Amendment.
C.L.S. (MA)
Why? No controls at all? Or are you being facetious?
Bill Appledorf (British Columbia)
Who or what are so many Americans afraid of that they think they need the firepower of a military platoon to protect themselves? All of this so-called protection is killing thousands of Americans wantonly year after year.
Sven Gall (Phoenix, AZ)
Ridiculous! Have you ever been to a gun show? Guns are like automobiles. They are everywhere! To think you are going to prevent crazies from getting guns is well ... crazy! They will just get them from other nuts. There is no practical way to round up all of the weapons here and to attempt that would start a revolution.
It's way too late for gun laws in the US. The answer is metal detectors and gun screening at schools and shopping malls.
Cowboy Marine (Colorado Trails)
Metal-detectors at schools have been proposed countless times...the response...IT COSTS TOO MUCH MONEY. You have to buy the equipment and then staff it. Paying for this stuff is not going to help anti-tax Republican millionaires who send their kids to private schools, so why would that idea ever be taken seriously in our country anyway?
karen (benicia)
I do not want to live in a world where there are metal detectors in malls, schools, etc. There are surely better ways to control this madness.
Geoffrey James (toronto, canada)
Let's make every day as much fun as going through check-in at an airport.
bk (california)
The NY Times article correctly summarized how publicity was part of this guys way to fame. Even using the word "shooter" plays into that. Everything should be on the table, Gun Control, Media exploitation, Hollywood and their love affair with guns, failure of the school system to connect to this kid, lack of security at the college. And I notice when a crime is white on black, you at the NY Times splash that all over the headlines. This was black on white, was it not? And a Hate crime against Christians, was it not? Time for a self analysis of your paper's conduct in keeping the war between Conservatives and Liberals alive, and the ongoing race wars alive. What would you have to write about, if these divisions went away?
Susan H (SC)
From what I have read the shooter was raised as a Christian and was half white, so not quite as you described it. Maybe he just felt that the institutions he belonged to had failed him. I'm sure there are a lot of people out their who are sure he must have been a secret Muslim!
H. Torbet (San Francisco)
When people do crazy things, generally what they are doing makes sense to them.

The problem of the occasional mass shooting is not high powered military weapons, whatever that means, or so-called easy access to them. If that were the case, there would be a whole lot more mass shootings. Instead, this is a country in which millions of people lawfully possess firearms with no incident.

I suggest that before folks get worked up about giving up more of their inalienable rights they look beyond throwing a bandage on a deeper wound. I suggest that there is something wrong in American society which, unfortunately, drives a few people to do truly insane things. I suggest that we look for the genuine cause of this problem rather than for a feel-good do-something-now new law masquerading as a solution.

We'll never be completely safe until all of us are locked in cells with 24-hour monitoring. Is that the solution liberals are really driving at?
Zejee (New York)
Oh come on. Gun massacres do not happen in other nations. Gee. I wonder why? But don't worry! Americans will never institute gun control! Americans love their guns!
Ken Burgdorf (Rockville, MD)
Gun safety is like car safety, multidimensional and imperfect. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution and no feasible way to eliminate all risks. But there’s much that can be done to reduce risks. Seat belts save many lives, even if they don’t save all. Every little bit helps. One small but worthwhile thing would be for Congress to ban civilian possession of armor piercing ammo. It would help police and other first responders feel a bit less insecure and there’s no good reason not to do it. Another small thing would be for the media to follow the lead of the Oregon police and refuse to release the names of mass shooters, on the theory that the prospect of anonymity would not be as enticing as the prospect of infamy for future malcontents.

In the spirit of looking for public safety enhancers, there are many imperfect but worthwhile things Congress should do. For starters:

- To reduce the carnage in mass murder incidents, enact clip size limits (4, the usual limit for big game hunting, would be sensible) and European-style ammo restrictions;
- To impede interstate trafficking in handguns – the supply chain for getting guns to urban street gangs and criminals, enact and enforce per person limits on number of handgun purchases per year.
- To reduce mishaps with legal handguns, mandate ATF-approved gun risk/safety courses for first-time buyers.
Pro-Gun Lefty (South Carolina)
Armor piercing ammo has been illegal for years. "Clips" (you mean magazines) don't even come that small (4 rounds). A traditional revolver holds six rounds. As to safety classes, I think those are great, but do you really think that would have an effect on a mass shooter?
True Freedom (Grand Haven, MI)
Repairing the Gun Lovers Misjudgments and the Problems They Create

First, in the event of a gun crime the death penalty should be automatic as killing is the murderer’s choice and not life. We should try to meet their personal demands by doing so and in these cases where they are put to death their family members must be forced to pull the switches or shoot them. Now, if the murderers are killed then they avoid the death penalty and do save us even more.

Second, all associated friends and/or family members need to be charged equally. They are the real problem here as they would have had the ability to stop the one they know from moving in the killing direction in the first place.

Finally, the providers/sellers of the guns, bullets, etc. must be fined to cover the all costs related to gun murders. A national sales tax for all related weapons and the related products, particularly bullets or shells, must be created. All related legal costs paid for by the taxpayers, as well as the related police costs and medical costs, handicap treatments along with loss of life costs must be included when calculating the correct tax percentage. No one or group can be exempt.

Ready to properly deal with this mess?
karen (benicia)
Sin taxes would at least help. They help with cigarettes and alcohol, and they are going to help with marijuana as soon as it's legal in all 50 states. Gun shows need to be stopped. There is nothing like them in any other area of commerce. Car shows are very popular, but you do not buy the car at a show.
Rev. Kurt Walker (Indianapolis, IN)
They are harmful to those whom they possess. They force those they possess to walk among the dead.

They stand guard on every street corner, they lie in wait under our pillows, in our closets, and in our glove compartments. They reside in our bedside tables, next to our Bibles. They jack their way onto school buses and into lockers. They crash house parties to impress all those invited. They conceal themselves in our book bags, purses, and briefcases. They hang proudly from our mantles and our display cases. We have the right to bear them in our hands, on our hips, and under our arms while not being able to comprehend that all they really lay bare are the deepest fears of the heart, mind, and soul of those they possess.

They are instruments of, and deal solely in, death while granting the false assurance of safety and protection for the millions they have possessed.

They are a cancer that knows no ethnic, class, cultural, social, or religious boundary. Their steely venom tears through the flesh of humanity, without indiscretion.

Manoflamancha (San Antonio)
Keep in mind that we can not cover every contingency in schools or anywhere else. A perfect example are terrorists. Saddam Hussein is dead. After 9/11 all airports, passengers, and luggage are searched, the pilots cabin is locked, and Osama Bin Laden is dead. This means no more terrorists attacks, right? Homicidal maniacs will always find a weapon, be that a gun, a knife, a bomb, an airplane, biological, chemical, or whatever.
Zejee (New York)
I get it. So, we should continue to do nothing. And await the next gun massacre (in a week or two).
Rev. Kurt Walker (Indianapolis, IN)
When Jesus stepped onto the shore he was met by a madman who was engaging in self-harming behavior, and who lived among the dead.

Jesus asked of that which possessed him, "Tell me, who are you?" They replied, "We are Legion!"

His demons cried out a name of systemic and political domination; of empiric injustice... The resultant plague of a gripping force against a free people.

The Umpqua Community College shooter may have acted alone, but his actions are the consequence of an occupying force. They say, "We are guns!"
Brian Hogan (Fontainebleau, France)
If controlling gun ownership by pre-purchase checks and preventing the mentally ill and convicted criminals from gun purchase is an impingement on Constitutional and fundamental human liberty, then I would submit that the issuing of driver's licenses, learners' permits, car registration papers and mandatory auto insurance is exactly the same. Tyranny, all of it. The same for laws restricting tobacco and alcohol sales. Unacceptable tyranny! Let us have the courage to abolish all of these now, and enter into a new world of freedom. Accidental deaths will skyrocket but, as Jeb says, "Stuff happens." Skyrocketing deaths will show the world what real democracy is. Until there are none of us left.
LetsDiscuss (DC)
1. Allow the manufacturer/seller of Guns to be sued - (i.e. manufacturers and sellers should have skin in the game - to make the country a safe place)
2. The gun victim/family should have the first claim on the property of the shooter and immediate family(If shooter is a minor) (i.e. if shooter owns a car, house or other property, the lenders will not have the first right) - Insurance companies can ask if the insured is a gun owner
3. Any gun that is turned over to the authority will get reimbursed 50% 0f the original value of the gun - One time , limited time program when laws are changed.
4. Make it a criminal offense to carry or transport an unregistered gun in public places (out side of the home/work)
5. Only guns that can be sold, should be
a. Non-automatic
b. Automatic only if it has the capability that it will be fired only by the registered owner
c. All guns sold/inherited/possessed should be Registered (Registry can be held by a non profit org, but this info will be shared with insurance industry and any criminal investigation)
d. Should pass a background check and a mental health check evaluation (Registration should be renewed every 4 years)

6. Gun owner is liable for damages caused by a registered gun - irrespective of the who the shooter is, unless it's proven that the gun was lost/stollen and reported to proper authorities.
Sven Gall (Phoenix, AZ)
The control of guns in the United States cannot be legislated! It is way way to late for that. This great nation was founded on the right to bear arms. No matter what laws are put into place, the criminals and crazies will always somehow, someway get the guns. It is naive to think differently. This nation is armed to the teeth and those guns ain't going nowhere folks! So let's just put that aside and move on. Here are some solutions: 1) private and public institutions should be required to provide safety much like you see at our airports. 2) shopping malls should be required to have metal detectors and screenings for weapons. 3) more law abiding folks should carry concealed weapons and receive training on how to use them. 4) public training should be provided to the citizenry on how to be aware of and what to do in case of lone gunman incidents.
Please keep in mind, the politicians love to take tragic incidents and crisis and use these to their advantage. Obama is a classic example. He turned it into a complete disaster with premiums that have done nothing but skyrocket. Throughout history, there has always been unfortunate crisis. Government can not solve every problem. It is up to all of us to take some responsibility and police ourselves. Otherwise you end up with a bankrupt and enabled society much like what you see today.
sunny (california)
The argument that "there's no where to start" or that there's no solution for the fact that the United States ranks #1 in the world in injuries or deaths caused by guns is pathetically weak.

Laws can be passed that protect the citizens of a country. Take a look at the tested possibilities-- all are better than what the United States has now. Start with the background checks and registration required in Canada. There are many hunters and happy gun owners in that country.
Matthew Kostura (NC)
Left unsaid in this editorial is the newer more sinister viewpoint being espoused by the Sheriff of Douglas County Oregon and Fox News as starters: we will not mention the killers names because they simply want the attention (after they are dead!!) and the lack of publicity will prevent copy cat killers. It seems so reasonable, such comments being based on sociological research and all. But there would be no copycat killers if the guns were not in circulation in the first instance. And frankly, I can see the next logical step in the behavior of government officials, journalists and news outlets: presumably well-meaning self-censoring will occur and therefore NOT reporting on these shootings will be taken as a public virtue. If its not news it did not happen.
Diane Sidwell Takayama (92009)
AGAIN! I find it glaringly inexplicable that we have heard absolutely nothing from the NRA.All I can think of is Charlton Heston forcefully telling the NRA gun control will not " take the guns out of his cold dead hands".That is not the point!!! That is a given in this country, however we have different factions of people going to gun shows that arms are bought and sold out in the parking lots. I was at the "Board Show" in April and it showcases new products in water sports.In the next building was an NRA gun show. Huge contrast. Trucker Biker types. Surreal. Why make such specticles of themselves to gain attention with their behavior?I could not help seeing the pride in these individuals but not in a cohesive or meaningful way. The NRA seems to encourage people and Lobbyests to disregard the laws that are suppose to protect us. Why do these people have the need to display such attention to themselves. Back ground checks are one thing, but what kind of cruel joke is it to the American public? How long ago was Oklahoma city? It has become weekly and monthly. We need treatment courts to help those disenfranchised. If all the NRA can do is give us tragedy at the cost of innocent lives and living in a society where schools are locked down, and fear of going to a movie theater is having your purse checked when you are a 60 year old Grandmother. That is no society that our forefathers would ever have imagined. That is not the "American Way".
Barrie Grenell (San Francisco, CA)
A mission element--after the cries for gun control, which is critical, at least strengthened registrations--is that the President and others also need to reach out to the alienated young men, as most are, that if they are feeling homicidal/suicidal that they are not alone and to invite them into society. In some way to recognize their pain and acknowledge them. Same for their peers who notice their stand-offishness, to gentle them into friendships, to mitigate the pain and anger.
The Wifely Person (St. Paul, MN)
The furor over abortion is inconceivable when the same legislators do nothing to stop the murder of children in schools and on the streets. Clearly, once a fetus is born, its life has no value.

No one. NO ONE _needs_ an assault or semi automatic weapon in this country. And if the owner claims he/she needs it for protection....but keeps it safely locked in a gun safe....what are they gonna do? Tell the robbers, "wait a sec, I'll go get my gun." Utter nonsense!

Despite claims to the contrary, the Republicans and their assorted wings do not value life. They allow the NRA to continue to hawk weapons to anyone with a checkbook. They want to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act in favor of nothing. And they refuse to do anything about big pharma and the outrageous cost of medication in _just_ this nation. These things kill people. Daily. Routinely. Without them giving any of it a second thought.

The political ritual is just that: formulaic poppycock. It means nothing. It's servicing the public with no intent to enact anything. It's verbal onanism.

And it's exactly what We, the People elected.
David O'Toole (James Street Publishing)
Despite saturation coverage of Newtown, not much was written about the mother, other than she was a survivalist from New Hampshire. In an eerie resemblance, the mother in Oregon admitted her son had mental health issues, yet took him to a gun range. I can't imagine gun control ever passing the House, but municipalities, like New York, or any state that wants to formulate a law is free to do so, but would have to withstand a Supreme Court challenge. States have been loathe to deal strongly with mental health issues, and the number of children that die every year, living with a drug addled mother would seem to indicate they would have a hard time setting mental health standards for any gun control law. But it is time to force mental health professionals to take a stand. they have been reluctant to do that in child custody cases, so it won't be easy.
Jeanie (NYC)
You cannot legislate the desire to own guns and to use them to kill people. You cannot legislate the false idea that guns make you safer. You cannot get underneath the mindset that WANTS guns and LIKES guns and likes killing. You cannot change people's minds and hearts.

Living in the middle of Manhattan, I don't have a gun. I don't want a gun. I don't need a gun. My husband, at 75, doesn't need one either. Until and unless we can get people to feel and think differently about owning and using guns, NOTHING will change.

The reason we got a lot of people to stop smoking was because the GOVERNMENT ran a campaign that said "smoking is known to cause cancer" at a time when the tobacco industry did not own Congress. (That would never happen now).

We had a "don't drink and drive" campaign that was highly successful. "Friends don't let friends own 15 guns" might fly if enough people wanted it. If we had a campaign that said "don't buy a weapon that can kill" such that the citizenry SHAMED gun owners, it might help. Can you see that realistically happening? Can you see it really even getting off the ground?? Expect more mass slayings.
Robert Dana (NY 11937)
After the Newtown shootings. Vice President Biden, speaking for the Administration, promised -- vowed to the American people -- that by the February following the December shootings, a law would be passed addressing the problem.

Nothing happened. Nothing. I don't know that a bill was even introduced.

Even now, why doesn't the President have his staff draft a bill for consideration. All talk Democrats.
karen (benicia)
have to agree with you. If congress could vote to repeal the ACA oaver 50 times, knowing they could not succeed in order to make a statement, the Pres could propose gun legislation that he knows can't pass. That would force the Dems to support him though. And it would highlight to independents exactly what the GOP is all about. And when it fails, well, do it again.
Jerry Hough (Durham, NC)
More people in a hospital were killed by Americans in an airstrike in Afghanistan.

Where is the editorial that it is necessary to end this stupid war in Aghanistan and support Putin in ending the even more stupid war in Syria that is likely to bring fascist regimes in some of Europe?

But of course 9 deaths in Oregon are far more important. They, after all are Americans. And with luck, they take the horrendous job report for July, August, and September off the front page. That is what is important for a paper that prints all the news that is fit to print for the DNC.
MAF (Philadelphia PA)
Any weapon you carry can be wrested from your control and used against you. Something to think about.
Paul (Long island)
Jeb Bush's channeling of his inner Donald Rumsfeld by saying, "Look, stuff happens" in dismissing the Roseburg massacre is just the latest example of the uncompassionate conservatism that characterizes the modern Republican Party. Mr. Bush's insensitivity not only revealed his gross lack of compassion at the moment families in Roseburg are grieving their lost loved ones, but also for his tacit support for the entire Republican political class and the gun manufacturers they serve that now bears responsibility for the endless awful massacres while refusing even to "look" when "stuff happens." It's time for Republicans to wash the blood off their hands and require universal background checks with no exception for all gun sales.
karen (benicia)
Congressional hearings into the practices and tactics of the NRA. The blood is on their hands and we the people deserve to have this recognized. If our reps can pursue Planned Parenthood-- a socially beneficial group-- ad nauseum, surely we can investigate these killers.
Robert (Out West)
1. It's technically not that difficult to pick up these kinds of patterns in your guys as they develop: the weird behavior is pretty well marked, and well-connected to pilong up guns, ammo and armor.

2. I'd ask the guys yelling about how black Americans kill each other more often two questions: a) does it bother you that these mass shootings (and serial killings) are almost always carried out what white guys, and b) what would you be willing to do to help address violence in our ghettoes?

3. I'd ask the guys insistent on how only a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy (actually, an insane guy, but let it pass) with a gun this: do you have so much as ONE example of your good guy with a gun stopping a bad guy? Not a cop: a real old-fashioned civlian gun owner stepping up there.

Don't tell me Clackamas Mall: THAT guy said in interviews that he never drew the gun--he was hiding behind a pillar--but thought the shooter "sensed his presence."

One example. Be specific. Because I only know of three or four examples where brave men stepped up--and in no case were they armed.
Brian Hogan (Fontainebleau, France)
It is tiring to read year after year about the NRA's resistance to gun laws. We are even told that a significant number of NRA members are themselves in disagreement with NRA policy. Why don't they withdraw from the NRA and start a new national gun association? We have multiple political parties, labor unions and health insurance providers. Why only one national firearms association? Now's the time! Let's doi it!
Just a comment (Ca)
I am sure the NRA, and by implication the GOP presidents wanabe, has a solution. Let everybody carry at least one gun. The final shoot out would have taken place earlier with the students instead of the police and the gunman would have been dead earlier with fewer casualties.

See problem solved!
Ed Norman (Jekyll Island, GA)
It occurs to me that before 1999, when the Columbine shootings occurred, there were very few mass shootings. The only two that I remember were Howard Uhruh (1949, weapon Luger) and Charles Whitman (1966 weapon bolt action rifle). This despite the ready availability of a wide variety of military automatic weapons of WWII, Korea and Vietnam vintage and looser gun laws than we have today.

I'm sure that mentally ill people have always made up about the same percentage of the population as they do today. So what's happened in t he last 15 years that triggers these events? It's surely not a sudden new availability of guns. If you recall, the weapon that Lee Harvey Oswald used to kill Kennedy was purchased by mail order and that same catalog offered many other military weapons including the M1 Carbine that was available with a 30 round magazine.

I would like to hear the answer to that question.
Mwk (Boston)
Ed - thank you for pointing this out, but reality is the world has changed. 1960 is not 2015. Fast, world-wide communications with video makes it all too real, too enticing for fringe elements to decide that their moment of fame is born out of infamy. The tendency to think that my right is found in some other injustice, my prejudice is correct, or my religion overrules the base or "natural" laws of man. With a smart phone one can find dozens, hundreds, or thousands of like minded supporters.

The catalog with the M1 carbine would be updated to something like an on-line purchase with next day delivery of an AR-16 and a 100 round magazine (or find a gun show within 100 miles on most any weekend).
karen (benicia)
Ed: Congress decided that it should be illegal for any govt. organization to do the sort of research you suggest.
N.B. (Raymond)
With 20% of our people now hit hard with mental illness and who knows how many other people are hiding out with their mental illnesses after going through our depression economics starting in 2008 and who knows if we will be hit with another economic melt down to increase the numbers to 50 to 60% of our people gone crazy , I yes I will be report for duty as the 7 star general just as they have in Egypt and I will protect the 1% in the gated communities executing 10,000 on my right and 10,000 on my left so the gated community can find peace in our new world order
Eric Z. (Vancouver BC)
No rational human being would be okay with having 13 firearms while living in a small apartment. I'm talking about the mother here not the shooter.
Dairy Farmers Daughter (WA State)
I think we need to get creative in managing the number or firearms in this country. We need to work on ways to pressure our lawmakers to institute policies to decrease the number of firearms purchased. Prohibition will not work. However we should institute policies such as taxing each gun purchased, requiring an annual license renewal for owning a gun with a hefty fee, depending on the type of weapon, taxing ammunition, requiring an extensive training course, at the individual's cost, before being able to own a weapon (with training required every three years or so). The argument that "oh, criminals will circumvent these laws" applies to ANY law a criminal breaks, so that is a specious argument. Just as conservatives has used tools to restrict access to abortion even though it is legal (due to "safety concerns"), effectively eliminating it in some areas, this same type of process could be used to reduce the number of weapons. Until voting citizens start demanding this of our politicians, and stop voting for them, nothing, however, will change. Therefore, it is really all of our fault when these mass shootings continue to occur. We have not demanded that our political representatives start making substantive changes, and finding multi-pronged strategies to reduce gun violence.
Phil Shaw (Mill Valley)
As I understand it, Oregon has relatively strict gun controls (at least as to sales; however, in Oregon guns can not legally be barred from public colleges). The Umpqua shooter bought all his guns legally. He had no criminal record or documented mental health problems.

I think we are at a turning point as a society: do we want to live like the people in Lebanon, Iraq, or Somalia where everyone is armed to the teeth and gun violence is an everyday occurrence or do we want to go back to being a civilized, peaceful society. If the later, then we need to reinterpret or rewrite the 2nd amendment to allow only a few personal guns, designed only for hunting or target shooting, and get rid of the vast personal arsenals that people who hate the government have amassed (I'm talking about a compulsory buy back program). If we aren't willing to live in a mostly gun free society, then talking about "gun control" is just a fantasy to make us feel that someday our kids really will be safe at school, at the mall, or at school.
Greg (Atlanta)
Why not talk about a broken society in which hordes of disaffected, antisocial rejects have been cast into a darkness they feel can only be broken with violence? Why not talk about a Godless world of hopelessness, in which Christians are now hunted down for their faith. It's easy to talk about guns. It's less easy to talk about militant, liberal secularism and its future of death and destruction.
Zejee (New York)
Yeah sure. Gun violence is all the fault of the liberals.
Karen (Phoenix, AZ)
Not only is access to weapons easy but it is not an automatic that guns will be removed from people who have been arrested and in custody for domestic violence. In the case of my sister's three-day ordeal at gunpoint, the deputy sheriff refused my request that he removed my then brother-in-law's firearms. Even the visible imprint of a 5mm and charges from a previous relationship were enough to justify "violating his 2nd Amendment rights". An officer in my own state gave me guidance on how to get the guns removed before his release from county detention but it was a shock that even some of those trusted to serve and protect, because of their own ideological bent, will not do their jobs.
Mr. Boogie (The Bronx)
Planes, trains and automobiles were invented for human transport. Phones were devised for human communication. Televisions were created for human beings to watch other human beings for entertainment & information. Naturally, we regularly use these technological advances for the purposes for which they were created.

I find it utterly amazing that devices which are designed & manufactured SOLELY for the killing and maiming of human beings (handguns/rapid fire guns) are allowed to flood our society. And then we act shocked & appalled when these devices DO PRECISELY WHAT THEY ARE CREATED DO: kill.

No one is shocked when a human being uses a car or a phone. Why should we be surprised that human beings use guns to shoot other human beings. That's what they're made for?

But we wouldn't have a gun violence problem if we didn't have a gun manufacturing & distribution problem. We have a gun manufacturing & distribution problem because of the corrupt exploitation of the antiquated 2nd amendment, which was created by guys who used muskets, denied women the vote, and owned slaves.

Just as they were proven wrong on suffrage and slavery, every time we have a mass shooting or the less-publicized daily gun deaths that plague our country, they are proven wrong about the 2nd amendment as well.

So until we seriously reconsider the modern day value of the 2nd amendment and the unmanageable gun proliferation which it spawns, sorry folks, this kind of gun violence ain't going anywhere.
Yes, we should get rid of the second amendment. It is misleading and poorly worded. "Arms", as in bearing arms, are not the same as these weapons of mass killing. And the "well regulated militia", part of the same sentence, is never mentioned by gun-rights advocates. SCOTUS upheld the right to bear arms by a 5/4 majority so be careful whom you elect to office. A republican president will probably appoint the next one or perhaps two supreme court justices. And they will possibly get to interpret the outdated and ambiguously worded second amendment.
bolo (concord, Ca.)
If God were in the home and school officials were trained to carry weapons these tragedies would not happen. Since government won't advocate family virtues and they can't undo the 2'nd amendment they must secure the schools.
Zejee (New York)
What are those "family virtues" you are referring to? Living wage jobs? Food on the table for all? A home for every family? Health care for all?
Dale (Wisconsin)
All in all, there is no 'easy' solution as has been suggested.

Criminals will do what they do, that is disregard the law that those who make them in their utopia letting (Washington) and assume all shudder and follow them.

Someone who is bent on doing harm will find a way. This latest Oregonian example is proof that some scheme about it for a long time, therefore will take their time to gather what they need.

Why is it that those who are so vocal can only say there is an easy solution?

Why is it those who are so aghast think and say that those of us who do own and use guns feel no sorrow for those injured, or the families of those killed? Our sorrow is as great as yours, thank you, and more so since we know the president and all those who are expected to do so will beat their drums of change and point fingers at the NRA or whatever organization they think is responsible in some way.

Facing the possibility of unreasonable and unworkable new laws is not something we look forward to with any glee in the wake of what we agree is a tragedy.
Jim K. (New York, NY)
The gun-rights debate has becomes a clash between people who fetishize guns positively, and those who fetishize them negatively. Both of these attitudes should be recognized, and dropped, by those who inhabit them. I don’t own a gun. But, as a person of the political left, I do defend my right as a citizen to own one.

Only in the ridiculous political discourse of the United States, where Obama is a “Marxist." can citizens' right to gun ownership be considered a purely right-wing demand. An armed populace with a measure of power in relation to armed power of the state is a populist principle, part of the revolutionary democratic traditions of the left.

We should have a society in which violence isn’t as alluring as apple pie. The ubiquitous cultural representation of armed violence as a attractive solution for all kinds of personal and social problems is ridiculous and pernicious. The answer to that is to do a lot of political and cultural work, not to pass a law and call in the armed police, the courts, and the penal system to enforce it on millions of people who have done nothing wrong.

Guns are to liberals what drugs are to conservatives. Liberals respond to to the real damage that guns do in exacerbating (but not causing) destructive behaviors in the same way conservatives do with drugs – with the impulse for prohibition, as bad an idea for guns as it is for drugs (and alcohol).

See the Left Argument for Gun Rights, at
Zejee (New York)
Oh no! Let's not have gun control! Gun control only works in other nations -- not in the USA, where we love our guns far more than we love our children. No gun control!
Socrates (Verona, N.J.)
With almost one privately owned firearm per person, America's ownership rate is the highest in the world; tribal-conflict-torn Yemen is ranked second, with a rate about half of America's.

America has over 300 million privately owned guns, which makes America more or less twice as gun-crazed as Yemen.

Welcome to third world '2nd Amendment' America, land of citizens imprisoned by gun nuts...and guns nuts so brave they need to go food shopping with deadly weapons.
John (Fairfield, CT)
No matter how strict we make the laws regulating guns, there are so many available guns and such a deep tradition of guns, gun control can not be the answer. What we need to concentrate on is better "intelligence", to use the military/police term and the willingness of the police to act on this information. This means that those who are close to maniacs who are liable to commit senseless gun crimes need to be made responsible or at least aware that they have a responsibility to inform the police if they think someone near to them has a gun and is likely to use it wrongly. This would be friends, parents, neighbors and relatives. We live in such a disconnected society today that these kinds of massacres can happen without anybody alerting the authorities or the authorities taking no action even if they were alerted.
Greg (Atlanta)
Bring on the police state. Report your friends and family. Big Brother needs more eyes!
John (Fairfield, CT)
This is precisely the wrong kind of attitude that makes our society less safe and more disconnected.
Cowboy Marine (Colorado Trails)
Perfect...they have this same type of citizen intelligence gathering set-up in Communist China and had it in Germany from the 1930s to mid 1940s. It works!
Vincent Arguimbau (Darien, CT)
The political ritual after a mass shooting is to seek a Federal law that can not defeat the NRA, nor would it necessarily be a good thing if it did. Perhaps Governor Cuomo's push for the enactment of a strong local gun control law after the Sandy Hook shooting in Connecticut is the better direction. I was surprised Governor Malloy of Connecticut was less forceful. As with the majority of issues "think globally and act locally" is a liberty enhancing notion.
Joe (Ketchum Idaho)
Mass shootings sure are attention getters...and account for 2% of the annual gun homicides.
Stephanie (<br/>)
This insane pandering to the NRA must stop. We are the only developed country - indeed, a world leader - where civilians have unfettered access to guns, many of which were designed for the military and law enforcement. The solution is clear: a total ban on semi-automatic and assault weapons, vigorous and enforced background checks, registration and insurance for every gun sold, required firearms training for every license issued, and - yes - restrictions on the number of guns per individual and household. Until we begin this, we are mired in this shameful and horrific spectacle of violence.
bolo (concord, Ca.)
This will not stop most killers like gangs and drug dealers.

In vain do we try to fix spiritual problems with law. Why don't we try boiling the ocean?
Zejee (New York)
Maybe we should just do away with all laws.
Albert E. Martin (Lancaster, NY)
As for the recent atrocity, pray for those who mourn and those who are injured.

But keep this in mind: These atrocities will continue as long as television, video games and motion pictures continue to teach that violence is the solution to differences and disputes. I pray that God will soon bring an end to it.
ClearedtoLand (WDC)
And the media purveyors of endless orgies of gratuitous gun violence are among the most honored White House guests while politicians--particularly Democrats--regularly bow down before them to receive a few slivers of silver.
Hipolito Hernanz (Portland, OR)
The meaning and the intent of the Second Amendment has been shamelessly corrupted. The right of the people to bear arms is clearly conditioned upon the need for "a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state..." One does not need to be a lawyer to understand the meaning or the intent behind these words. Yet, it is the well-paid NRA lawyers who argue over this.

The nuts carrying out these horrors are not "well regulated", their acts have nothing to do with the security of a free state (we are not fighting the British anymore), and the "arms" have become far more lethal than anything the Founders could have imagined.

Congress could easily draft and pass legislation to meet Second Amendment standards. Just think of it, the Second Amendment does not even mention the word "hunting". But we have a club of incompetents masquerading as legislators. I can only assume that they are talking about themselves when they say that "stuff happens."
bolo (concord, Ca.)
Ask any adult who was reared in a broken family what makes children so angry and defiant enough to commit such carnage. They will tell you what a child goes through if they are born geeky and school kids wont eat lunch with him and his father leaves him and his mother for a younger woman and shack up together (Ala Sandy Hook and other school shootings) - and then lose his mother when she is sharing her marriage bed with a man not the child’s father. Add weapons, a physical abnormality, or sexual abuse to the child and then blame mental illness and guns for the consequences.

If schoolteachers reported the risk to CPS and CPS were on their toes, there would have been no weapons in this home.
KayTee (Richmond, VA)
Late that night of the shooting, a MSNBC reporter from Chris Hayes' 'All In' show, was seen interviewing a student and asking the usual questions. This student, seemingly a very nice, decent guy, told the reporter how he stood in line to be patted down by the cops, how he told them that he had a concealed carry permit, that he had a gun on his person, which then was inspected and his permit validated, had the weapon given back to him, etc. Then this student told the reporter how the students were escorted to buses for their ride home, but also how he was asked not to ride the bus and instead find his way home on his own in deference to the sensitivity of others in the bus who might be scared of knowing that he was packing.
The irony wasn't lost in me nor should it be on you, fellow readers. If 'decent' people with guns are meant to make us feel safe, then shouldn't it have been more reasonable were the cops instead insisted that this law-abiding, gun-packing student actually ride the bus to ostensibly prevent any other untoward incident? They instead asked him to travel on his own because he had a gun!
The gun-rights advocates have cloaked themselves in this duplicity and find little recourse but to hide behind the most obscure and atavistic interpretation of the 2nd amendment.
This is a victimization of the Constitution, and not an act of defending what is honorable and meritorious.
Robert (Out West)
i just wanna know what he was doing on campus with a gun, and why he didn't bravely rush in when the first shots rang out.
Dan (Chicago)
Gun advocates need to stop using my hometown of Chicago as an example for their argument that restrictive gun laws don't work.

Yes, Chicago has restrictive gun laws. But Chicago is not North Korea, walled in on every side. There is no way the city can prevent guns from entering. Chicago borders Indiana, a state with very lax gun laws. And many of the suburbs around Chicago have lax gun laws as well. The only way to stop guns from getting into Chicago would be for the police to search every car as it enters the city, and I don't think anyone supports that.

The Chicago gun law argument doesn't hold water. Also, murders in Chicago are down 50% over the last 20 years, so maybe the gun laws here actually do have some effect.
CAF (Seattle)
The country's "scourge of violence" has been in decline for 15 years without gun bans.
Zejee (New York)
Yeah, gun massacres only about once a week -- and USA is still Number One in gun violence! Horray!
Amy D. (Los Angeles)
How can one not be pessimistic about changes to current gun laws? Keeping guns legal and plentiful is big business. Today we not only have 2nd Amendment advocates yelling every time someone vocalizes the need for change, but there is also something much more insidious going on. In Florida, for example, a law was passed in 2011 and upheld a few years later that virtually makes it illegal for doctors to ask about firearms. There are lobbies to make changes like this all over the country. Have we passed the point from which we cannot return?
66hawk (Gainesville, VA)
Candidates should absolutely be required to say specifically what would do to address this problem, if anything. This issue is a look inside the candidates approach to governance. Are they willing to take a controversial position to address specific problems, or do they just pray and say it is too difficult. Obama is right that without a change in the political mix this problem will be ignored and buried along with the many dead innocents.
Occupy Government (Oakland)
Some places have suicide bombers. Here, guns are much easier to get than bombs, so our terrorists kill with firearms.

We know how to fix this without violating the Second Amendment: restrict sales of assault and automatic weapons, license gun owners, require background checks on all transfers, register sales, mandate safety training, certification, liability insurance and regular medical checkups. And finally, hold manufacturers accountable for safer design elements.

We do this for cars, drivers, planes and pilots and safety has improved greatly.
Jim (Wisconsin)
All of those restrictions cited combined would not have stopped a single mass slayer. Sorry, you're not addressing the problem. If you eliminate every gun in the USA except for law enforcement then you'll have maniacs driving down sidewalks, pipe bombs going off as in Europe, chemical poisonings of the water supply, knife and sword attacks, etc. A safe society is a good society, and you'll never ever ever have a completely good society. This is not about guns. The Oregon nut hated Christians. If he couldn't get a gun he would most certainly of acted out his anger and retardation in any number of other horrible ways. You will not achieve the safety you so desire by depriving lawfully abiding citizens of their right to bear arms, and to defend themselves with same. It's an illogical fantasy.
John (Nys)
Also, you can't constitutionally eliminate guns because there is a right to both keep and bear (carry) arms that can not be infringed.

Given that guns will be around, gun free zones gaurantee the only armed civilians will be in a sense criminals. Where guns are outlawed, only outlaws have guns and that happened in Oregan assuming it was a "gun free zone".

Without metal detectors everywhere, can there ever be a "gun free zone". Are are there only zones free of "legal guns".


Zejee (New York)
So how come this doesn't happen anywhere else except the USA? Other nations have gun control laws. Don't worry! No gun control -- and more massacres in our future.
DANNY KLEIS (California)
The divide over these events is amazing from no action. These mass shootings are terrorism, the children perpetrating these crimes are terrorists, and reflects the inability to counter the effects especially in a more ideologically prompted media that can be compared to past lessons. We should accept a need to continually evolve and determine the threat.
NYer (New York)
For all the wishes that there would be practical and political scientifically based decisions (as opposed to religious, anecdotal or emotional), this debate might as well be in the dark ages. What may seem 'obvious' is far from necessarily accurate or even close to it. We have fifty states with varying rules of individuals having a right to own and carry guns. We have a laboratory but we are not using it. Take a look at Washington DC where it is almost impossible for law abiding citizens to own much less carry a gun. Washington DC is the NUMBER ONE murder capital of America, FAR more so than any state of the nation. Yet with EXTREME gun control. Then take a look at a state like Vermont where there are NO restrictions to gun ownership - you dont even need a permit - Dangerous place?? Not even close, number 34th way way below average in gun deaths. Can anyone explain these FACTS? So my opinion is that we need to have evidence based thinking and regulation - perhaps even some actual RESEARCH - and put the emotional fervor that does nothing but divide the country over this otherwise polarizing issue.
Robert (Out West)
Maybe it has something to do with poverty in DC and the fact that the Court threw out the handgun laws, and with the minor technical detail of Vermont's small population.
Tim (The Berkshires)
The US congress long ago passed laws PROHIBITING any government-funded RESEARCH into gun related deaths. There went that idea, unless we can count on the esteemed private sector to carry out the research. That should work out well; look at all the research the tobacco companies paid for.
In Vermont, my home of many decades, we hunt. Sure, there are some crazies, but Vermont is not beset with the urban problems of DC.
So Sander's "strongly endorsed Obama's gun control agenda." What exactly is Obama's gun control agenda? And how would it prevent these shootings? This guy killed 9 people so let's adopt the proposal to limit magazines to 10 rounds. This guy used a pistol so let's limit access to "assault rifles." This guy has no criminal or mental health record, so what comprehensive background check would have red flagged his gun purchase? Are there any other "gun control" proposals? We've had a war on drugs for over 50 years, at great expense and great effort and yet drugs are readily available at record low prices on virtually every street corner. Heroin has become an epidemic. With our draconian drug laws and aggressive enforcement, why are there still so many drugs, so relatively available, at such low prices. The answer is that when people want something people will find a way to get it and no law, no matter how vigorously enforced, will prevent that. So show me the benefit of the draconian laws against these drugs when the clear affects are that our prisons are flooded with drug criminals, while criminal organizations are growing large, wealthy, powerful and violent.
Robert (Out West)
The guy also used a long gun, and shot people multiple times.
Zejee (New York)
So we continue to do nothing.
Ladislav Nemec (Big Bear, CA)
Technically, the responsible branch for this mayhem is the Supreme Court. Not long ago it interpreted an old and confusing part of our Constitution in a novel way making the right to 'bear arms' a fundamental right. As far as I know, no other country made anything like that part of its constitution.

It is not likely that the current Justices are going to change their mind and, conceivably, if the Republican controlled congress passes some restriction on possession of arms, they can actually invalidate it as 'unconstitutional'.

That's the real situation. In this context the reaction of Republican presidential candidates is kind of understandable. They are certainly not going to nominate reasonable Justices to the Supreme Court and 'things will be happening' again and again.
Jim Waddell (Columbus, OH)
I don't know why gun control advocates get so up in arms about mass shootings and assault rifles while pretty much ignoring the day to carnage from pistols. Both mass shootings and assault rifles account for a very, very small fraction of the total homicides each year. But these victims tend to be white (with the notable exception of the Charleston shooter) while most other homicide victims tend to be black.

Do we care more about white lives than black lives? Or is it because whites can see this as potentially happening to them, while the daily carnage among blacks can be safely ignored?
Marvin Elliot (Newton, Mass.)
NRA: The only answer to a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
Jeb Bush: "Stuff happens".
There have been 45 school shooting this year along and we still have 3 more months to go.
Even Bernie Sanders danced around tightening gun access laws.
Doesn't anyone have the testicular fortitude to say we need stricter background checks. For those who worry that their precious right of the 2nd amendment is being amended, I'd say that my safety to live peaceably supersedes a "well regulated Militia"
Will (NYC)
It pains me to say that as long as we don't see pictures of the carnage, here and the kids at Sandyhook, nothing will change. Just like the coverage of the Vietnam War. Out of sight - out of mind.
Beatrice ('Sconset)
Someone with whom I disagree politically, reiterated, "Guns don't kill people, shooters kill people".
Well, since gun availability is so prevalent and since access to weapons is so problematic on both sides of the partisan divide, can we approach with a different strategy ?
Can we increase the ratio of & access to, school counselors ?
Can we discern the silent & "troubled" kids & refer them to the appropriate help ?
Can we try to prevent these "shootings" before they are "shootings" ?
Christina (Italy)
Why not start by telling us loudly and clearly HOW exactly the gun lobby wields power to make congress men and women continue cowering to the NRA no matter what happens or how many children are killed. Is it accepting money, is it threats? What is it?? It maybe a stupid question but I have never seen an article about it. Whatever the tactics are they work awfully well. AND THEY SHOULD BE STOPPED. Our country is way over due for serious gun law reform. I am outraged by all the candidates who say "stuff happens" or Its bad people with guns who kill people.
Philo (Scarsdale NY)
After the shooting several things came to mind
A friend on the day of the tragedy. said " I heard something about it on the radio as I was pulling into the park spot , but I shut off the car before I could yea the details"
he's become inured to mass shootings,
Fox News predictably had on their 'experts' who invariably point to killings in Chicago's inner city ( its always Chicago on Fox ) they never mention that there are dangerous neighborhoods all over America, many. We enter with caution - that indeed needs to be addressed - but we know its a high crime area. But should we enter our movie theaters, our parks, our schools, our malls, our churches, with the same apprehension on a daily basis?
The role that WSJ, FOX NEWS, Rupert Murdock , Roger Ailes and Wayne LaPierre, have in all this,
We tend to blame congress, but its American citizens as much as congress that lack the will; and this names I mentioned above fuel these fears for people to feel the needed to be armed. Immediately after the shooting sure enough, Fox news predictably castigated the Presidents speech, the liberals that blame 'guns' and the need for mental health care ( which they do not want to fund) , the 'politicalization" of the tragedy
There is blame to go around , and its not just congress or our politicians , its our very neighbors who refuse to stand up against this tide of insanity.
Old School (NM)
People with behavioral disorders shoudn't have access to fire arms. Nor should they have access to knives, clubs or bombs, etc. It would be fundamentally wonderful if we could magically collect all the firearms in America. Of course this would cause some vulnerability to the average citizen, but would probably be worth it. Since wee can't, it would be good to make this a public safety issue and NOT a political issue. I don't believe in either the right or the left approach. People should be able to continue to buy firearms after a screening. There are several ways to test people.
Zejee (New York)
The NRA says "No."
Dr. Robert John Zagar (Chicago)
It is a reflex by many in the media and politics to focus on guns and gun control when there are 14K homicides, 41K suicides & 6 or more active shootings in 2013 but the wiser, more sophisticated know that 70 years ago we released mentally ill from hospitals and 35 years ago they moved from psychiatric beds to jail cells, the real scandal, the historically highest prison population globally. The solution is internet sensitive specific objective inexpensive screening in emergency rooms already being done at University of Chicago, Rush Presbyterian & Atlanta Georgia Hospitals because physicals are only 49% accurate & interviews 46% precise less than chance sensitive specific. Background checks are only 25% sensitive specific so passing gun laws with these will not reduce the homicides, suicides or active shootings. The solution is inexpensive internet specific sensitive objective screening of mental illness followed by precise medication targeted to the disorder. There is quite a difference between a paranoid, schizophrenic, bipolar, depressed or anxious suicidal person in terms of treatment regimens. That's the solution, not the focus on gun control and background checks the knee jerk response so often offered.
Zejee (New York)
Dont worry. Nothing will be done. How long do you think before another mass shooting? I say, one week (that's the average).
Gerald (Houston, TX)
During October 1998, the Indian Medical Doctors Association (similar to the US AMA) got together and decided not to pay protection.

As a result, some of these doctors were dragged out of their offices into their waiting rooms and murdered in front of their waiting patients.

The executioner would explain to the patients that this was an example to other doctors that might decide not to pay protection, and they would be allowed to live in order to spread this message.

The main headline in the daily newspapers was about the Indian Medical Association demanding that the parliament pass legislation automatically granting a pistol-carrying permit to every individual who has a medical doctor's license.

The medical doctors were threatening to leave the country if parliament did not grant them pistol-carrying permits.

I do not know the outcome of this legislation.
Jim Waddell (Columbus, OH)
Homicide rates per 100,000 people:
Finland: 2.0
Belgium: 1.7
Canada: 1.5
White Americans: 2.5
Black Americans: 19.4

Now tell me where you think the problem is.

Larry Lundgren (Linköping, Sweden)
@ Jim Waddell - Jim, useful information if your source is reliable. I have no idea so will try to check. This leads me to wonder if I am right that almost all and perhaps all mass killings in the USA - at schools, movie theaters, other settings - have been white on white.

If so I think a column/OpEd adding full data on mass killings to the data you cite would be something for the Times to provide. But first must be sure about the data you provide.
Maureen (Upstate, NY)
Quite an indictment on the insanity of the situation when I simply go to my "saved file" and post the same comment over and over. Here it is yet again.

Tragic and it will happen again and again and again. A sad commentary when the sanest voice on the topic comes from "The Onion:" " 'No Way to Prevent This' Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens"
emorydecastro (Nahant, MA)
Is it time to unleash the insurance companies? Look at how they impacted that other dangerous weapon - the car. With a strong lobby, outstanding processes for risk assessment, and the bridge between behavior and market forces, we should require gun owners to prove they have insurance before they carry a gun. Then let the insurance companies do their thing.
Bruce Northwood (Washington, D.C.)
Guns, guns, guns. America loves its guns. In a few weeks the latest mass shooting of students will fade into the past and be accepted collateral damage of America's love of guns. America loves its guns more than it loves its children.
Been There (U.S. Courts)
American society is violent because American culture is violent because most Americans are violent, or would be if they could.

We Americans are barbarians and barbarians love blood sports. Why confine the gladiatorial combat to a Coliseum when we can spread it throughout our streets?

And then we also get the unrivaled joy of executing helpless prisoners who may or may not actually have committed crimes.
Dan (Chicago)
"Helpless prisoners?"

I'm a contributor to the Innocence Project, which aims to get representation for prisoners who were wrongly incarcerated. But to characterize prisoners as "helpless" is rather misleading. Whether or not one believes in capital punishment, I think we can all agree that 90% or more of those executed were indeed horrible people who committed horrible acts. Let's not sympathize for the wrong reasons.
Jim Waddell (Columbus, OH)
There will be a bipartisan consensus on gun control only when liberals agree that sane, law-abiding citizens have a right to own guns and conservatives agree that we need to have adequate controls in place to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
Tell us why you think you need a gun. I bet you can't do it without revealing that you are at best a paranoiac.
Brown Dog (California)
To allow these tragedies to be explained by citizen access to firearms. avoids the more difficult question about what abuse of power says about the mental health of our American society. Abuse of physical power increasingly pervades all levels of our society. Far more deaths from weapons are caused by abuse of military and police power than by hateful or mentally deranged citizens.

I suggest looking seriously at Swiss culture in which citizens also have access to firearms in their homes, but the culture engenders more respect for responsible use of such power as only for defense and never for political aggression or waging wars as a way to advancing national interests. That certainly divides the Swiss culture from our own, and that division based on handling the power of firearms seems to extend deeply into the citizen culture as well. A search of safest nations, lowest violent crime and lowest crimes in general, Switzerland always pops up in the top five.

Our media entertainment labors hard to associate heroism with fighting whether through weapons or martial arts. Such roles in the enacting of "heroism" are usually portrayed by authority figures. It is time to recognize that fighting is not a characteristic of true heroism and that wielding of power responsibly usually means saying "no" to poorly developed people who approve military and police violence or disempowerment of citizens as normal and necessary. None of this is necessary.
David (Minneapolis)
Why do weak gun law advocates always bring up Chicago as example of failed gun laws? Drive to the outside of town and buy your gun in Indiana with loose gun laws. I think more than anything this points toward strict federal laws. And for sure close the personal sale and gun show exemptions from background checks.
DougalE (California)
It hasn't occurred to the New York Times that it should be asking how the shooters got their hate, not their guns. Tens of millions of people own guns and have purchased them much the same way the guns in today's lead story were purchased. The difference is they haven't acquired the degree of hate with which the perpetrators of these crimes were infected.

The killings in Oregon appear to have been inspired by an anti-white and anti-Christian ideology. Do the people who make anti-white or anti-Christian remarks on the comment boards of the New York Times and other publications bear some responsibility for this crime having made hateful statements toward whites and Christians in the past?
Robert (Out West)
Of course all we actually know is that this creep perfectly fit the typical profile--loner, weird, angry, lots of guns and ammo--and that he seems to've had an insane grudge against what he called,"organized religion," but you go right ahead repeating whatever it was you got off Breitbart.

One question though: when the white supremacist kid shot and killed all the AME Church members, were you as puffed up as this about white kids with an insane grudge against black Christians?
WalterZ (Ames, IA)
Colleges and universities and school districts should form a coalition. That would touch many people and be a powerful force to make change. Who doesn't have a child, a nephew, a grand daughter, a friend, in school? Parents, grand parents, uncles, aunts, friends, all would step up to back the institutions where these horrendous crimes keep happening.
Evelyn Elwell Uyemura (<br/>)
Back in the day when psychotic people were committed to mental hospitals, would anyone have proposed arming the patients? Because that is, in effect, what we have done. The mentally ill live in the community and are given equal access to firearms. And then we wonder why we have incident after incident.
Zejee (New York)
But most of these gun nuts are considered perfectly sane -- until one day, they aren't.
selinas (Phoenix)
Blaming the tools for for the work of of a deceitful contractor isn't the correct response either. Doesn't sound like he was mowing people down with an assault rifle or some military grade weapon. I think the bigger problem is the attractiveness of the sensationalism caused by the coverage. These lost boys are desensitized to thought of killing by all the killing being done in the real and virtual worlds.

We get what we give and right now we are giving the means of destruction to people all over the world, feeding fuel into fires that are already fiercely burning. Its inevitable that we will be feeling the effects of the sparks and embers erupting from the global conflagration we have been fanning.
I am glad NYT thinks gun control problems should be addressed now. But why did this editorial not appear after the recent murders in Charleston, SC? Much was printed about discontinuing Confederate flag waving after the Charleston massacre. But at that time next to nothing about gun control appeared in the press, including NYT. I hope that when the next mass murder occurs (for surely it will without some legislative actions) in this country, there will be no diversions in the press or in politics from addressing our desperate need for gun controls.
The Wanderer (Los Gatos, CA)
Rather than send condolences, how about something like "Thank you for sacrificing your son/daughter/father/mother in support of your nation's Second Amendment"?
Tullymd (Bloomington, Vt)
So this loser kills 9 with unspeakable violence and our Air Force killed more bombing a hospital in Afghanistan. We are an irretrievably violent society which eventually will lead to our destruction.
In the interest of world peace, may it come speedily on our time.
Hdb (Tennessee)
It is clearly a terrible problem that the rest of the world doesn't share. Limiting guns does work in other countries, especially Australia. But here we area already facing a heavily armed group of people who are fanatically devoted to their right to own guns. The most fanatical want guns as insurance in case the government becomes in some way too repressive and they decide that armed resistance is the answer.

At what cost? The question is not just whether you individually get to have your gun. If you get to have, say, assault weapons, then so, apparently do lots of people who are on the edge enough to use them on innocent people more than once a week this year.

Your individual rights have deadly consequences. Many people, myself included, are far more afraid of death by a domestic mass shooting than by terrorism or, obviously, by the government. I'm not saying the government isn't repressive to some extent, but armed insurrection is not the answer.

Perhaps we should take the 2nd amendment at its word and form well-regulated militias. Perhaps people should be able to own guns only if they are a part of a well-regulated militia.

There has got to be some answer. What we're doing now is tragically not working. It's time to break the impasse and find solutions. Unless we under a secret occupation by the gun lobby and its foot soldiers? Are there "rebel" forces whose anger and weapons prevent the legitimate government from doing anything about it?
Kimberly (Chicago, IL)
I've been wondering for a long time now just who pays for a shooting survivor once the limit is reached on their health insurance plan. Maybe if someone besides the victim got stuck with that cost - whether insurance companies or the gun manufacturer - we might see some effort made to make these weapons more difficult to obtain. Gun owners ought to be required to purchase insurance that will cover expenses to victims if the gun is used criminally.

Chris Mintz, the man who saved some students in Oregon and then rushed the shooter, currently has various people and groups fund-raising for his medical care. He was a random victim, not someone in a place where he shouldn't have been. The fact that recovering victims have to raise money for their medical expenses is obscene.
Tullymd (Bloomington, Vt)
Which is truly evil and exposes the injustice which pervades our society.
clarity007 (tucson, AZ)
Please everyone read the NYT article "How they got their guns". Note the single most prevalent correlating factor , mental health issues. In many cases family members and others were concerned but are blocked by current privacy laws. In addition most would, under current laws, not have been able to purchase a gun legally if the crime databases were up to date and shared by state and city law enforcement.
Carl (New York)
Mental health does not put you in the crime database. Could you imagine if it did? Nobody would get help.
DanBierce (Idaho)
The problem of gun violence in America: It should be pretty obvious by now that Americans just aren't smart enough to solve problems of this magnitude, anymore.
Tullymd (Bloomington, Vt)
We are addicted to violence and need to be on a 12 step program.
Back to basics Rob (Nre York)
People across much of America believe they need a gun in their home to protect their families and for hunting for food, longstanding American traditions. The second Amendment should protect those interests, and the protection should be broad enough to include what must necessarily be implied to implement those interests. So buying a gun from a licensed dealer and transporting it to the home and to where people need training in safely using it and repairing it would also likely be protected, as well as going to and from lawful hunting areas. BUT otherwise carrying a gun in public, especially in urban and suburban areas outside of these narrow areas of interest, need not be protected to implement the core second amendment interests. As Oliver Wendell Holmes famously wrote in 1881, the life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience. The American experience over the last generation with these all too common horrifying murders of our young people has to mean something in how our judges interpret our national charter of freedom, the Constitution of the United States. A civilized society in the 21st century should not permit the Second Amendment to be construed to provide a safe haven, a license, or to make it as easy as pie for those preying on the rest of us to hunt our young people. Electing a President and a Congress who are more willing to use the full extent of their power to deal responsibly with this is a choice every American has.
vineyridge (Mississippi)
The right in the Constitution is the right to BEAR arms. It says nothing about what kind of arms. If the US had the political will, it could pass legislation regulating the number of shots a legal gun sold in the US could make before needing to be manually reloaded. We got along for centuries with single shot rifles and pistols. Shotguns were double barrel, so limited to two shots. The time to reload is a window of vulnerability for a shooter.

Even with current universal access, limiting the capability of all consumer weapons in the US to one or two shots would significantly reduce gun damage. Hunters don't need large capacity to kill if they are any good. The sole purpose of many shots in a very short time is killing, not hunting.

Focus on the guns and not the people who bear them.
Tullymd (Bloomington, Vt)
Dream on. The NRA won't allow it.
Carl (New York)
You have the right to freedom of religion but not all religions. Only Christianity. Your argument is ridiculous.
David (Brooklyn)
More shock and less pseudoanalysis is necessary to break the numbness that follows these recurrent attacks. It is imperative to stop bowdlerizing these events with images of pious commentators endlessly repeating the same superficial pap. Instead the media and the public should confront the full brutality of the events. Agreement to publish the views of the deceased with their injuries should be elicited from victim's families and the media to provoke the true painful reaction that will lead to the necessary political confrontation.
Frank (Columbia, MO)
We need to set aside a portion of our huge national defense budget to establish a buy-back market for the 300 million guns that surround us. That would be a start. Remember more Americans die every year from domestic guns than are killed by all terrorist attacks combined over the last decade.
HT (New York City)
It is not easy access. I believe canadians have as many or more guns per capita as we do. There is a sickness in the US. Fear. Fear of the other. Fear of personal isolation. I don't know. That drives a macho mentality for self-preservation. An immaturity that sees the individual as having to fend solely for themselves. Militarily it makes us the most powerful nation in the world. Which I actually like. It also breeds 32 thousand gun deaths and how many other murders.

It is also interesting that, relative to the bloodshed of cities like Chicago that has registered 2200 murders to date, this year, that is probably vastly minority receives no press and these incidents of 10 or so drives this convoluted gun debate.

We are not even close to a solution.
Gerald (Houston, TX)
If the current proposals to ban handguns becomes the law in the U.S., then we could awake to a situation similar to India, Africa, Russia, Bosnia, or similar to New York City during the earlier part of the 20th century when privately owned firearms were prohibited.

Many of my New York City resident frirends have since been licensed to carry firearms, and they tell me that this probably is the main reason or maybe the only reason for the demise of the protection businesses in New York City.
Gerald (Houston, TX)
People who want to live in a country where the average citizen is prohibited from owning handguns or any type of firearm should go to India, where the law-abiding population is totally disarmed (except for the politically connected and the criminals). I have spent some time in India on several different occasions. I have derived the following information from the local daily newspapers that I would read every day. Every business from the large plantations and industries to the Mom & Pop retail stores must pay armed people (gang members carrying pistols) for protection services.

The particular local armed gang that claims the area (or the turf like the old New York City Protection Rackets before the New York population was allowed pistol permits) where the business is located requires that the business pay the gang for the protection services.

Failure to pay for protection can result in death, rape, fire, theft, or other bad things happening.

Turf wars are also a very severe problem in India.

Even the tenant farmers or sharecroppers are exploited to the point that part of their share of the crop is paid to the protection providers.

The sharecropper farmers are left with only part of their meager earnings. The only assets these people have are their children.

Slavery is illegal in India but indentured servitude is legal. The farmers sell their boys to the rug weavers at about 12 years of age, and sell their daughters to the brothels at even earlier ages.
Tullymd (Bloomington, Vt)
Still sounds better than Texas.
Mike Davis (Fort Lee,Nj)
I think I speak for the victims families when I say to the GOP and NRA...Take your thoughts and prayers and stick them where the sun not shine. Prayers mean something when it comes from a repentant heart but you can not rob your neighbor every week and then go ask for forgiveness every Sunday. Those in positions of power who see this carnage every year and do nothing about it or obstruct others who would do something about it are doing just that. The victims mean nothing to them and in fact during the Newton massacre many in gun states thought this was a made up tragedy in order to take their guns. Anyway we can rant all we want, nothing will be done about it....see y'all at the next mass killing.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
The second amendment actually calls upon Congress to regulate militias well, because the sort of armed mob we have now is a clear and present danger.
Alan (Santa Cruz)
Gun owners should be required to renew permits yearly, and buy a bond each year , payable to a fund referenced to victims of gun violence in the same way automobiles are registered and insured. The bond should 10million $ for the AR-15, and 5 million $ for any handgun.
David (Easton, PA)
Ironically, these "courageous" politicians in Washington do not allow non-law enforcement people to carry guns into the Capitol. Why is it ok for the general population to be at risk from the proliferation of guns in their schools, houses of worship, businesses, etc. but not for them? Let's see Congress pass laws they endorse allowing virtually everyone to carry a weapon to the Capitol.
Bud (off-grid Community southwest of Madrid, New Mexico)
The NRA is the poster boy for a Constitutional Amendment that removes ALL private money from our political system, declares that corporations DO NOT have the Rights of Person-hood and that ALL Political Campaigns be Publicly Financed. When is our Lame Media going to call the NRA what it truly is a Front for gun manufacturers? Lets also call the NRA a Bribery & Blackmail Organization because they either contribute to Congressional campaigns or the second any member of Congress even contemplates any kind of gun legislation there they are as the Intimidator & Enforcer for the gun manufacturers.

It certainly isn't any secret that the Republican Party as a whole is in the pocket of the NRA & hence the gun manufacturers. They say they're just defending 2nd Amendment rights but that is NOT TRUE as they NEVER talk about the part about a well regulated Militia. Since I doubt that members from both Parties will ever have the COURAGE to stand up to the NRA we need that Constitutional Amendment banning $$$ from our political system.

In a somewhat related topic something that should be even more clear since Pope Francis's visit is that the Republican Party has NOTHING IN COMMON WITH THE TENETS of CHRISTIANITY. I dare anyone to read chapter 6 of the Gospel of Luke & think the Republican Party. Its amazing to me that they have been able to fool so many for so long that they are the Party of & for Christians. When the Pope & others speak of the Common Good who looks to the Republicans?
Jon Campbell (St. Paul, MN)
The Republican mantra regarding gun deaths is the same as it is for being in favor of sending other people's children to fight the wars they so desperately want. It will not be until these cowardly politicians are directly affected by senseless gun deaths and lose their own children that they may come to their senses and pass legislation that substantially decreases the power of their most powerful supporters--the Gun Lobby.
Patty Ann B (Midwest)
I support responsible gun ownership, background checks and the banning of high powered assault rifles. This will help. What will help more is fighting poverty and guaranteeing wages for hard working people that can actually support them. We use to be a nation of hope now we are a nation of despair. We ridicule those that do not have jobs. We ridicule those that do have jobs but with jobs we deem not good enough. We hate/fear Blacks. We hate/fear immigrants. We hate/fear Muslims. We hate our children so much that we allow our government to cut funding for their schools and saddle them with high interest debt for trying to better themselves. We hate ourselves but pretend not to. Our press is full of hate/fear mongering and ridicule of those who are trying for a better life. And then we expect our people to not hate/fear, to not be hopeless and to act in a civilized manner.

The answer to gun violence is compassion and respect. When we learn those qualities again we might not end violence but we will surely diminish it. People kill out of hate, fear and need. Lessen these and you will lessen violence.

Banning guns would cut down on gun violence but there are still knives, swords, bows and arrows bombs, Molotov cocktails, etc.

Throughout history violence has been a symptom of a decaying society and the ever present violence here shows our society is failing fast.
ClearedtoLand (WDC)
Many of the recent mass killers lived with mommy or daddy, who bought them guns or provided the substantial funds to do so, and encouraged shooting despite being aware of their children's significant mental issues. I don't think any of these parents have faced legal or financial consequences---an obvious pressure point; instead, many have enjoyed misplaced sympathy.

No, it is so much easier to demand that the tens of millions of lawful , sane, and responsible gun owners--whose guns prevent robberies, rapes and home invasions---give them up as a sacrifice to the PC Gods.
Montana Al (Bigfork, MT)
The gun culture in this country goes back over 200 years and is unlike anything else in other countries. This culture will not be changed overnight. Recent stats showed from 2004-2013 that over 326,000 people were killed by firearms in the U.S. compared to around 36 people who were killed during the same period from domestic terrorism. It is right to focus efforts to keep guns away from the mentally ill and felons, but actually doing that is much harder than it seems. Felons can easily get guns illegally, and this Oregon shooter had no mental illness 'record' for anyone to single him out as a prospective killer.

Personally, I would love to see the U.S. do something like Australia did and offer a gun buy-back program. The Aussies were able to buy-back over 40 million guns. Of course, that amount of guns is small potatoes in the U.S. but it would help, and if we offered that kind of program every 5 years or so we would eventually get more weapons off the streets. I also think that every person that wants to buy more than a pistol for self-defense be able to show WHY he/she needs another weapon. If you are a hunter and want to buy a rifle then you need to show a hunting permit and/or proof that you are in fact a legitimate hunter. Beyond that, no other weapons are needed for personal use. If you want to shoot more advanced weapons beyond hunting rifles then you can go to a shooting range where they keep those weapons securely and will let you shoot in a controlled environment.
Benjamin Greco (Belleville)
Frequent mass shootings are an American phenomenon and more than just a sign that we have too many guns. It is a sign of a failing society. We live in what I like to call Ronald Reagan’s America because his Presidency started us on the path that has led to today. It is a place short on government, long on greed, and violent in the extreme.

Closing the gun show loophole and limiting magazines isn’t going to be enough to solve the problem of alienated, angry madmen using guns to make a name for themselves and everyone knows it. The millennials are the first generation to spend their childhoods steeped in violent movies, TV, and video games, we don’t need a study to see the effects we see them every day.
Yes, Europe has these too, mostly imported from us, and they limit guns, in ways we never would or will, but Europe also has a better safety net and social services that catch people before they spiral out of control. They don’t live in societies where a major party does nothing but protect the interest of the very rich. The Republicans have turned this into a country where only the Rich can have a good life, free from worry and stress.

The rest of us are sleepwalking while the country falls apart around us, counting on winning the lottery, and playing Russian roulette with our kids.
Alan (Holland pa)
Until Americans stop enjoying guns so much, gun control will accomplish little. it is in the american psyche, from the old west, to the ghetto crack wars, to the lone heroes who struggle in the movies to set things right. As long as we find it in our culture to applaud the individual who stands up to evil (whether it is crooks, terrorists, crooked/racist cops or big government) by himself with a gun, the problem will be with us. Of course, the day we stop believing that is the day we stop invading countries with the idea that we will set things straight. It isn't the guns that are the danger, it is the psyche of too much of america that is.
Dennis Martin (Port St Lucie, Florida)
A patchwork of laws that attempt to solve this problem probably will not work because it will be impossible to keep guns that are otherwise legally available out of the hands of criminals or the mentally ill. The only solution is an outright ban on all handguns and semi-automatic rifles. Let the hunters keep their hunting (not assault) rifles. So how do accomplish this seemingly impossible task? Unfortunately, I have no idea, but I hope and pray that someone else does!
westernman (Palo Alto, CA)
"The Political Ritual After Mass Shootings
Politicians should talk about the easy access to guns that is behind the violence."

The above, this editorial is a part of The Political Ritual After Mass Shootings.
Bart (Upstate NY)
The news media might want to consider talking about the easy access to guns as well. It's the 'elephant in the room' on all of the coverage I've seen.
Deanalfred (Mi)
Guns are not the problem,,, publicity is. Notariety, fame , or onfamy is the problem.

They, the cowards, the shooters ask for it and we grant their every wish.

We do it.

In Japan they use knives on the subway, in the East and Middle East they use bombs. Eliminate every gun and there will be mass killings with poison and fire.

We do it to ourselves.

Erase their name, never mention their name, affiliation, the reasons why, make them nameless. Except to call them what they are, cowards.

Don't utter their name, ever again.
Bhaskar (Dallas)
The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Obamacare primarily on the premise that it was a tax and therefore something that the government can impose. How about imposing a very high, say 1000%, tax on guns and bullets ? It will certainly reduce the number of guns and gun owners. This can be a good start if we do not have the political will for a comprehensice gun-control yet.
Rob (Denver)
Want to know one of the reasons why the NRA and so many gun owners across the country aren't enthusiastic about adding more gun laws on the books?

Because the current laws, of which there many, aren't strictly enforced.

And look at cities, like Chicago, that have some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. Its gun-related crime numbers are among the highest of any city in the country.

Interestingly, one wonders why the White House has failed to mention that.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
This country should have only one federal militia regulation and arms trafficking law for all.
D Parker Palmer (Chicago,IL)
The difference is that our industrial military complex is making a great deal of money from the same of arms, from assult rifles to explosives.
Chuck (Flyover)
When a woman, for reasons known mostly to her, decides to terminate her pregnancy it's a moral outrage. When a person, usually a man, for reasons known mostly to him decides to go out and end the life of one or multiple fellow human beings with a gun, stuff happens.

Where is the moral outrage from those self proclaimed "right to life" citizens? Didn't the Pope on his recent visit to the United States condemn the sale of arms for the destruction of innocents? How come no one who "values life" was capable of seeing the sale of weapons that cause destruction of life goes on almost unabated in this country?

Rank hypocrisy.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
Birth is "original sin" so that's why life has to be punishment for the born.
Carole (San Diego)
Ooops..hit wrong button!
Carole (San Diego)
I remember you!! Strange comment.
Patrick (Ashland, Oregon)
This nation reined in Big Tobacco, Big Oil and has begun to work on Big Pharma. All had strong lobbies and tons of money, yet, progress was made. Yet, next to nothing is done to rein in Big Guns. The NRA is just the lightening rod for the issue; not the real culprit. The gun manufacturers are near the root of it.
I could go on, but I won't.

After Sandy Hook, with the massacre of genuine innocents, I gave up. Something is deeply , terribly wrong here. It may be in our own national psyche , or it may be in Congress.
Hdb (Tennessee)
I'm beginning to wonder (after that standoff where the rancher with guns and a bunch of gun-toting friends held off the government) whether the US government is not afraid of an all-out war if they tried to impose gun regulations or buy back guns. If so, note to the people who would perpetrate this atrocity: this is a war on every single American citizen. You are putting us all at risk.
Phyliss Kirk (Glen Ellen,Ca)
Congress will not act. Article 5 of the Constitution says '"or on application of the legislatures of 2/3of several States, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either shall be case,shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of the Constitution when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of several States, or by Conventions in three fourth thereof,......."

It is time for citizens to put pressure on states to move in this direction, since Congress cowardly responds only to the Money Lobbies on this issue.
JP (California)
What do you expect when you drive religion out of public life, destroy the traditional family, saturate children with violent video games and movies and teach everyone that they are a victim? This has absolutely nothing to do with guns and everything to do with, in the words of our fearless leaders spiritual leader, the chickens coming home to roost.
Carole (San Diego)
JP..You are incorrect, it has everything to do with guns, the kind developed for war. This is the military/industrial complex come home to roost!!
Dan (Chicago)
Are you saying all of those murder victims the other day would have been pushed out of windows or beaten to death with baseball bats if the perpetrator hadn't been able to get a gun? Interesting reasoning.
Carole (San Diego)
JP..Religion never had a legitimate place in public life. I was forced to pray every school day when I was young, we said the Lord's prayer..the Jewish kids were sent out into the hall when we prayed. And, I don't think religion has been driven out of public life anyway..I seem to bump into people praying quite often. I agree that violent games are a mistake, but not about "destroying" families. We are a violent society, those games and movies wouldn't sell, if violence weren't so popular. No one forces people to buy them. Perhaps part of the problem is the need for two people to work in order to support a family and the flaunting of wealth on TV..few families can escape our wretched way of life these days. So, we sell them guns!
rasidi (Texas)
Nowadays I do not flinch whenever there is another report of mass killing, because I know that nothing will come out of it as usual, its always about the 2nd amendment right and nothing else, but what has really baffled me is that no one has brought up discussions about Gun Manufacturers, what is their take on this issue? we can attack farmers for tainted food, we can attack car manufacturers for rigged emissions, we can go after cigarette manufacturers for lung cancer or whatever cancer we can associate with their products, but never has anyone brought in the CEO of Smith And Wesson Jeffrey Buchanan to answer questions on his job as the leader of the best killing machines ever made in America, for the killing of America's children,American press needs to name names of the biggest gun makers such as
These is just a small list of firearms manufacturers in America, I think the press and Americans should focus on these companies, if there will ever be changes in how guns are used and distributed in this country. The United States Government under President Bush fought a $trillion war in Iraq just because of a fabricated story that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction while ignoring the weapons of mass destruction being manufactured in his backyard, It is time to stop the hypocrisy.Whose turn is it to get killed.
Chump (Hemlock NY)
Stop the hypocrisy, indeed.

Why aren't Raytheon, Northrup Grumman, Boeing, United Technologies,
Locheed Martin, Bechtel, Harris and L-3 Communications off your list?

Some of the products of these omitted companies were used to rocket
a hospital in Afghanistan yesterday, killing nine people and injuring many others. Was it just their turn?
bnc (Lowell, Ma)
Congress took away our freedoms witth the Patriot Act. Why isn't the NRA gunning for them?
K (Wisconsin)
Let's take a lesson from Viet Nam era reporting and start printing the horrific bloody images of those killed in both the mass shootings as well as the individual killings.

And let's give credit where credit is due ... print the massacre pictures along with a nice headshot of the congressional reps or senators from the victims' state who've earned an A+ NRA rating and made this deranged reality possible.
Ken L (Atlanta)
I'm NOT the NRA, and I vote, too.
stella blue (carmel)
This article doesn't address specifics. What does it mean exactly that people have less access to certain types of guns? Which ones are you talking about? How about the people that live in ghettos in major cities across the US. They live in war zones. Who's going to protect them from the violence. Look at Chicago. People are gunned down there non stop. If I lived there I would like a gun to protect myself and I would like that gun to be able to fire off a few rounds in case I miss.
6figuresad (Bristol, PA)
it's a symptom of a cowboy mentality turned toxic, machismo turned rancid. someday we'll accept the fact that it's only men who do this stuff, guns or no guns. the american concept of masculinity is diseased; guns are just a part of it.
Esteban (Los Angeles)
I used to favor heavy gun control. Now my view has changed. I think we are dealing with rampant domestic terrorism based on social isolationism of mentally and emotionally ill individuals. So we should do three things.

First, there should be mental health and criminal background screening for gun sales.

Second, the FBI, Homeland Security, or ATF should scan the Internet to find crazies who are blogging about Columbine, Sandy Hook, etc., with any degree of admiration. Often these mass shooters try to broadcast what's going on in their crazy minds. Anyone involved in such blogging should be arrested or put on the list of people barred from gun sales. This is not a matter of free speech - by analogy, people found with child pornography on their computers are regularly sentenced to prison for up to 10 years.

Third, until this nationwide domestic terrorism crisis is over, state-qualified teachers and students in colleges (trained ex-military or reservists) should be allowed to carry concealed pistols for protection. This policy could be carefully monitored and revisited every five years.

I used to think that allowing guns in schools was a terrible idea because there's an implicit threat of force where learning should be open and free. It had an element of fascism to it. But I've changed my mind for the time being.
Chump (Hemlock NY)
Statistically most shooting deaths in the US are suicides.

The overwhelming majority of gun owners in the US do not belong to the NRA.

Tens of millions of Americans procured their guns legally and are scrupulously law-abiding in their use. In New York this means they have had background checks, photo ID's and fingerprints taken if they want to own a hand gun. By NY law hand gun magazines are of restricted capacity.

President Obama's call to legal gun owners to lead in the making of sensible, effective gun control has great merit. Yet those who haven't broken the law or suffered a murdered or suicidal family member or friend aren't nearly as strongly motivated as those who have. Demonizing lawful gun ownership and lumping lawful gun owners as tools of the NRA at best, or violent psychopaths at worst, as is routinely done in these comments, surely reduces that motivation.
Dan (Chicago)
No one is demonizing responsible gun owners. We're just saying more needs to be done to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, who, through their actions, give all gun owners a bad name.

Over the last few decades, the country has gotten very serious about lowering the rate of drunk driving deaths, and succeeded through much more restrictive laws (raising the drinking age, lowering the threshold blood alcohol level, etc.). But no one argued that doing this "demonized" the millions of responsible car owners. The same applies to gun regulation.
Gerald (Houston, TX)
What good were the umarmed guards at the Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore.?

When a person (mental patient) in a classroom is shooting a student every few seconds, the armed police are normally several minutes away.

How convenient we neglect to mention that the place in the USA with the highest gun deaths per capita is the one place that banned handguns outright: the District of Columbia.

It’s the car’s fault that people are killed in drunk driving accidents not the intoxicated driver involved.

If guns kill people, then pens misspell words.
Matt Andersson (Chicago)
It is unfortunate that the press is inciting emotionalism when many facts, subject to verification and investigation, remain at large. Due process and due diligence are especially relevant; moreover the non-characteristic robust coordination behavior between law enforcement, EMS, media and the White House additionally suggest sustaining an independence of mind. As for guns, it is of public necessity to assess in context those interests that seek civilian controls, against those same interests and institutions that propagate its military and paramilitary global diffusion.
Carole (San Diego)
Matt...You're joking, right?
Rosie James (New York, N.Y.)
I am neither a gun advocate nor a gun control advocate. But I believe I do have some common sense when it comes to this issue. Stringent background checks including mental health issues present and past should be fair game in determining whether or not someone should be allowed to procure a gun.

However, all the gun laws in the world cannot stop someone who wants to commit these kind of horrific crimes. There are a lot of disturbed people with some very bizarre fantasies out there about murder and terror. The city of Chicago has one of the strictist gun laws in the country. Pick up any newspaper and you will see how many gun crimes are committed. Strong gun laws alone will not stop this kind of carnage.
RS (Philly)
Given the carnage on our roads and highways (mass shootsgs pale in comparison) we should severely restrict the speed limits or, better yet, ban driving on them altogether. Enough is enough!
Andy (Wilson Wyoming)
Let's start by NOT IDENTIFYING the killers anymore. Refer to them as "the killer", but don't mention a name or show a picture. Maybe all these "loners" (a common description amongst all the mass murderers in the last few years) will see that they cannot gain fame or notoriety through this last horrible act.

Also, does anyone out there have concrete examples of when an innocent bystander is killed when a well intentioned gun carrying citizen shoots the victim instead of the perpetrator? The NRA says we need more guns...HA HA. In a room full of hysterical people running in all directions, how can one know who is the killer and who is the victim? Police are trained for months in how to respond. They are not just given guns...
clarity007 (tucson, AZ)
The problem is much more complicated. Consider that in the 80's there were far fewer gun laws and more access to guns yet there were very few mass shootings. Little correlation between access to guns and these tragedies.

It always convenient to propose a simplistic answer. Another complicating factor amongst many is that states that allow concealed carry have lower violent crime rates but 19% lower homicide rates than those that ban cc.

Perhaps there are significant contributing factors that have spawned a new set of violent and disturbed individuals. What is the profile of these killers, age, gender, family dynamics and mental health issues? Of the weapon plays a role but there are likely other correlating factors that may be even more important.
Robert H. White (Williamstown, MA)
In response to President Obama's challenge to the media to compare gun and terror deaths, I propose that the New York Times launch a daily feature memorializing each and every victim of gun violence, as was done so beautifully and effectively after 9/11 with "Portraits in Grief."
juna (San Francisco)
These mass shootings are completely random and unpredictable. It could happen anywhere to any of us.
Rachel (NJ/NY)
Can the Times please stop plastering the killer's face everywhere? I don't want to see him. I don't care. There have been angry young men forever; it is America's choice to indulge them with high-powered weapons.

My attention isn't on the killer. It's not even on the victims. It's on the politicians who spent two years investigated the 4 deaths at Benghazi but won't spend even two days investigating what they can do about the hundreds murdered within our borders so far this year.
Joy Johnson (Knoxville TN)
If I hear yet another "Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families," I may go mad. What is the definition of insanity? "Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a change." Let's be bold and do what Australia and other countries like ours with strickter laws have done!
Barry Swennumson (Gulfport Ms)
no one seems to really confront the real crux of this gun problem: the antiquated 2nd amendment that most politicians and their fellow citizens tiptoe around like it has been written by God and is never to be questioned, thanks to the gun makers and their lackys. that amendment is a sham. the killing of the innocent children in their beloved schoolhouse demands a new look at this so-called right. in Elie Weisel's essay Night, after witnessing Nazi atrocities on the innocent he said he could no longer believe a just God exists. We need to bear witness too, because of Newtown, and pull the USA back from the evil it has nurtured, to a more civilized way of life.
Stan C (Texas)
Broken record:

In the US anyone who wants a gun can get one. That includes felons, kids, the angry, the mentally disturbed, gang members, the machismos, the inept, the untrained, the terrorist,....... anyone.

That's the basic problem.
Gerald (Houston, TX)
Most of these mass murderers were under the care of the mental health industry!

Maybe people that visit any psychiatrist should be listed on a computer list that is publicly accessible to the police and the general population, so that the public can know and beware of those who might be a potentially dangerous mass murderer.

This could be similar to the convicted sex offenders lists.
caveman007 (Grants Pass, OR)
Thanks to tax-cut happy politicians in southern Oregon there is virtually no law enforcement. Arsenals abound. "Stuff happens."

Gerald (Houston, TX)
How would more policemen have prevented this occurrence?

At least the police killed this murderer, and that will save those taxpayers a lots of money
James Murphy (Providence Forge, Virginia)
Congress is partly owned by the NRA. Other parts of it are owned by the Koch brothers and their ilk. Ergo, nothing positive on gun control will be forthcoming from Congress.
Swabby (New York)
We require auto makers to install seat belts, pollution controls, back-up cameras and all sorts of other goodies. Pharmaceutical companies to apply all kinds of safety devices on their products, and on and on. Every one less one: gun manufacturers. Talk about "free range!" As a start, we should push Pat Moynihan's idea of strict regulation of ammunition. Let them have all the guns the loonies want, but have to grovel for the killing part of these devices.
Larry Gr (Mt. Laurel NJ)
The worst school killing in US history was done with dynamite. The worst mass murder in US history was done with a mixture of diesel fuel and fertilizer. The worst terrorist attack was done with fully fueled aircraft. In Australia mass shootings have decreased considerably since they tightened gun laws, however mass murders have been committed with fire, knives and even a hammer.

The problem is more than just guns.
Amy D. (Los Angeles)
Just like one has to take a racing car to a special track to utilize it for the speed it was meant for, let those who go to gun ranges be able to use high-powered weapons that are stored only there.
Frank (Columbia, MO)
Nine innocent people are dead and a small town is scarred forever and why, so that one pathetic young man could go out and buy an arsenal for which he had no real use ! On the matter of guns , several of which I own, we have become a sick society.

There is only one question worth asking : why did this person have a gun, for what actual purpose did he need to have a gun at all ?

The ownership of a gun henceforth needs to be both licensed and the carrier insured.
progressiveMinded (FL)
Gun owners are categorically responsible for all the gun bloodshed and mayhem, yet many forcefully try to distance themselves from other gun owners who have actually pulled the trigger. The "innocent" gun owners swear to society that they are trustworthy. The usual self-descriptions are "law-abiding", "responsible", "trained in gun safety", and "sane".

But they are human, and as such they can decide at any moment to use their handy tools of violence. Surely they will, unless we put an end to gun ownership.
Mor (California)
I was in Israel at the beginning of the 2000s when a spate of suicide bombings occurred in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. I was concerned but not paralyzed with fear. The goals of the terrorists were clear; their actions, evil as they were, had a certain logic to it. But what is the logic of giving arms to madmen? What goals are the supporters of NRA pursuing that make sense to anybody? Why should I be a victim not of a national struggle or a solvable political disagreement but of a crazy anarchist vision of an atomized society in which everybody brandishes a gun in the name of "liberty"? Such societies, in fact, exist. One is called Syria and I strongly urge all NRA supporters to spend their excess testosterone and useless piles of ammunition fighting Dayesh. Let's see how long they'll last in an actual, not pretend, gun fight.
RPM (Newfields NH)
The problem in this country is gun culture. It is scary. Go to England, for example, and you don't have that sense. All guns and gun owners should be registered to help prevent this most recent atrocity and tragedy.
henrydaas (ny)
Do we have a gun problem in this country? Absolutely! Do we have a mental illness problem? No doubt! Do we suffer from an epidemic of violence? Without question!

Would sensible gun laws help? Absolutely! Would more funding for mental health programs make a difference? No doubt! Would reducing (young) people's exposure to violence be a positive? Absolutely!

Can we expect our elected officials to lead the charge? I'm gonna have to get back to you on that one...
Bob in NM (Los Alamos NM)
Those seeking a pilot's license need to get medical exams, take classroom and in-flight training, and pass several exams. Then they get a license to fly only certain types of aircraft. Any activity that could harm innocent bystanders, like crashing an airplane or shooting up a classroom, needs such regulations and oversight.
Colin McKerlie (Sydney)
If you want to live in a sane society, you have to start by asking the individuals around you to stop acting like they are insane.

There is no valid reason for any civilian to own any firearm that is in any way automatic or self-loading. Bolt action rifles, shotguns and revolvers should be enough for any gun nut to hunt or protect themselves.

If you want to begin to change the madness that is the current reality in America, you have to start asking any individual you know who owns an automatic or semi-automatic firearm why they need a weapon specifically designed to kill a lot of people as quickly as possible.

Sure, that might take some courage, but it is only at an interpersonal level that the political reality of gun madness can be changed. Talking to your Congressman won't help, you have to talk to your friends and neighbours.

And if they want to keep their killing machine guns, then you must treat them like the madmen they are and stay away from them.

Imagine if nobody who owned a killing machine gun could get sex except from another person who owned a killing machine gun. Now that would change things.

Watching from Australia, all I can say is that I know the majority of Americans are not insane, and in a democracy, that should mean that your gun laws do not demonstrate national insanity.

So speak to your family, friends and neighbours now, before one of them ends up pointing a killing machine gun at you or someone you love.
don shipp (homestead florida)
There is no way to prevent random gun violence in the U.S., not when you have 300 million guns in circulation. It's too late. Gun violence is analogous to a random infectious disease. I know it sounds cynical, but it's a hazard of living in America. All you can due is try preventative algorithms and hope you find some that can mitigate the carnage. Americans,because of the NRA's opposition, are able to make only cosmetic changes in the law. Even those superficial changes won't happen unless politicians have the political will to buck the gun lobby. The NRA pimps for the arms and ammunition manufacturers. They go out and hustle political prostitutes who will service the NRA agenda and deny the will of a large majority of the American public, if the campaign contribution is adequate. These political gigolos then sanctimoniously wrap themselves in the Constitution and the Flag while thousands are gunned down every year and American blood flows. " And they, since they were not the one dead, turned to their affairs".
Ray (Texas)
This person broke at least a dozen laws, with impunity. None of them mattered to him, so what sort of new law Would have stopped this? Maybe putting crazy people in institutions? Try getting that one by the ACLU. Besides, what part of "Shall not be infringed" do you not understand? Repeal the 2nd Amendment, if you really want to do something.
Stan C (Texas)
Living down here in the New Confederacy, I often see these arguments, none of which are valid. Briefly:

1) Laws don't stop lawlessness (they define it). But that does not mean that we should dispense with laws (in a "nation of laws"). Speed laws hold down speeding (e.g. school zones), and most think such laws are necessary.

2) The problem with putting "crazy people", most of whom are nonviolent, in institutions means pre-tragedy population sorting of a kind few would support. Indeed, I know of no one in the state of Texas that can perform this task or that even claims this ability.

3) Interpretation of the 2nd Amendment was altered only a few decades ago (let's leave that aside for purposes of brevity). But even as it presently stands, it does not mean that anyone can possess any gun, under any circumstance, whenever and wherever he/she wants it. A Second Amendment argument of this sort, a favorite of the NRA, are simply bogus.
Dan (Chicago)
TheSupreme Court said very clearly a few years ago that the "shall not be infringed" language in no way prevents the enactment of reasonable gun laws, so your argument is false.

And you're ignoring the first part of your sacred amendment - "well regulated." I assume you have no problems with regulation of guns, as the Second Amendment makes it very clear that regulation is part and parcel of weapons possession.
su (ny)
What does AR-15 Mean?

Assault Rifle,

There is a reason for that gun to use, Assault.

We are seeing every single massacre, assault guns are the favorite because they can kill efficiently to unarmed innocents, such as new town school children.

Yet , Giuliani , NRA and many other ilk claiming that people Is the reason.

Honestly even the most idiot knows somebody need to pull the trigger.

but that trigger belong to what?
Ceadan (New Jersey)
Easy access to firearms and the Republican imperative of maintaining and expanding it are matters of grave concern and require action. Given far less attention is the role the media plays in ritualizing (and profiting from) these disturbingly frequent episodes of mass murder. Invariably, it seems, the perpetrators of these horrific crimes are later shown to have paid very close attention to the obsessive coverage of earlier attacks and the minute particulars the media provides. The current trend of overblown coverage needs to be de-incentivized.

Congress should enact a version of the so-called “Son of Sam” laws that applies to media coverage of these events. A large percentage of the media’s windfall advertising profits should be diverted to the victims and their families. This would hopefully serve the public’s “right to know” while curbing the media’s tendency to present these tragedies as serial entertainments.
TR (west US)
You guys don't get it. Every time we have to go through another of these you join the "political"chorus. The NYT (and you the editorial board) provide no better insight than the other side. The same old chorus. The same old argument. The same old solutions. Its time for some serious research and reporting and an end to opinions that just enflame.
Dick McKenzie (Nha Trang, Vietnam)
This horse left the barn many years ago and it can never be found nor returned. With over 300 million guns in circulation in the U.S. even if a total ban was placed on the manufacture and legal sale of ALL guns they would continue to be widely available to "good" guys and "bad" guys alike.

Equally important is the fact that today's good guy easily becomes tomorrows bad guy when some kind of stress or aggravation prompts a formerly peace abiding citizen to strike out to avenge some imagined wrong. As the NRA says, guns don't kill people, people do but if the available weapons were limited to knives or clubs we'd have much lower death tolls. Sadly, it isn't going to happen!
suzanne (New York, NY)
Andrew Cuomo said that Obama should shut down the govt over gun control. Yes, he should.
jb (weston ct)
"The contrast could not be greater between the bromide-driven slate of Republican candidates promising thoughts and prayers after “this senseless tragedy” and President Obama in his understandable fury and near despair over the political cowering to the gun industry and its lobbyists. "

Oh really? And what, exactly, has President Obama actually proposed? And what, exactly, did President Obama and the Democrat Majority leaders in the Senate and House propose and bring to a floor vote when they controlled both houses of congress?

'Near despair' and 'understandable fury' play well to the cameras, and apparently the NYT, but the fact is that Obama, Pelosi and Reid did nothing when they had the power to do so and all the outrage now cannot hide that simple fact.
Here (There)
The times seems to believe that some emotional shock should lead legislators to pass a gun confiscation bill.

Carolson (Richmond VA)
So with all of their concern on mental health, we should expect to see the NRA Institute for Studies in Mental Health, right? Or at least a several-million dollar donation to the country's mental health agencies from the NRA, right? Or a strong politician giving his/her NRA "donation" to mental health agencies, right?

Bettina (Toronto)
For a start, people should stop taking their disturbed children to shooting ranges as a parent-child bonding activity. What on earth could ever possess any mother or father to do this? The pattern of this young man's life sounds eerily similar to Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook shooter. There is a logical life lesson in all of this that seems lost on many Americans.
Kathy (Portland Oregon)
There's also the issue of the "special interest" of a young man with Asperger Syndrome. Lonely, emotionally tormented, and with one thing occupying his mind. . . Killers and killing. Clearly he needed professional intervention years before.
JayK (CT)
The problem isn't the guns, it's a deep and profound sickness in our society,

That statement is not meant to defend "our second amendment rights" in any way. If the second amendment was magically repealed tomorrow, I would be thrilled.

The gun culture in this country is one of many societal cancers that we have been forced to live with. However, as odious as the far right gun lobby is, they might not be wrong in their position that gun control laws would do nothing to stop these types of mass shootings.

A pervasive sense of hopelessness and desperation for some individuals, coupled with ridiculously low barriers to obtain firearms and instantaneous worldwide social media has created a fertile environment for spectacular, sick exploits.

It seems as if these people are living in a shared delusion, a devalued "virtual" world, where they believe they are existing within the confines of a video game, not real life.

As such, their actions need no self imposed barriers, and no real consequences that need to be considered.

How do you go about fixing that? Repeal the second amendment because some mentally ill people can't deal and blow a gasket?

We'd be better off offering unlimited, free mental health treatment for everybody. Oh, almost forgot, the Republicans don't believe in that, either.

We're a pick yourself up by the bootstraps, rub some dirt on it, self sufficient society that doesn't believe in handouts, after all.

As Jeb Bush so eloquently said, stuff happens.
RobertJ (Mt. Airy, MD)
The mass shootings by mentally unstable individuals that make the news so prominently are only a tiny fraction of those killed every year by American gun owners. Americans killed by terrorists are only a tiny fraction of those killed annually by American gun owners. I had a cap pistol when I was a kid but outgrew the need to inflate my ego by owning killer weapons. Americans need to grow up and find a way to live in a civilized society.
Mr. Phil (Houston)
Point in fact, even if all gun sales were forbade under the law, the scourge of violence/deaths seen would have little impact for decades.

Back alley sales would be a booming market with the existing guns -- the knowhow to modify would [potentially] worsen the problem before things got better. Empty shells are easily refilled and often reused; this is where gun ranges get a bulk of there shells.

While this tragedy was unfolding in Oregon, I was filling out an initial patient history form for my Medicare HMO Primary, there was a Y/N question about being a gun owner. Why? Violence at home; ever been abused? While these two may be appropriate screening for MH a referral, the gun owner is a too far.
Mr. Phil (Houston)
EDIT last sentence (Parrot's fault) - While these two may be appropriate screening for a MH referral, the gun owner question is going too far.
terry (washingtonville, new york)
It is not the weapons (they are weapons, not guns) which are the problem, it is the bullets. A new NRA mantra.
Luke W (New York)
There are many gun owners and active shooters out there such as myself that have no problem with tightening up the rules around gun transfers.

The problem is that the 'gun control' movement is really not interested in that constructive process their actual goal is the gun banning of various classes of firearms.

So people and politicians who might be potential allies in true 'reform' movement step aside because they recognize the motives of the 'gun control' proponents.
Kathy Lollock (Santa Rosa CA 95409)
I am a Democrat, and will vote Democrat in 2016. But to the Senators and Representatives of my party, words are cheap. It's time to have courage and take a stand for gun control. Make noise just like the NRA and its lobbyists. Remember your base, and for the few who may not want you back in office, there are the many who will continue to support you. Your inaction re these horrible massacres is embarrassing and no more admirable than the relentless, lame scripts of the GOP. Don't turn away from the POTUS. He has every right to be angry with this Congress who is supposed to legislate for our health, safety, and welfare.
ann cole (Taos NM)
I wonder how many of these young men got their weapons from their parents? If you have a child in trouble and have guns in the house, maybe you should think about that. . .
AnnS (MI)
Yep - same editorials after another shooting by another angry alienated young man. Nothing changes.

The "getting angry & shooting teachers & fellow students" is an American tradition - cases documented back as far as the 1850s.

Aside from the Bath School Bombing in 1927 which killed 45, the largest death tolls have been since the Texas Clock Tower shootings in Aug 1966.

Since 1966 - 49+ years ago - there have been 277+/- incidents at schools & colleges involving guns & shooting & deaths & injuries & suicides.

49 years of editorials about gun control & groups advocating gun control.

49 years of nothing happens - except now there is a US S. Ct decision saying that an individual has a nearly unfettered right to own a gun.

Better get some new tactics to get gun control - these aren't working

The most publicized shootings have involved more than 3 or 4 being killed. (Except for the media going wild over the killing of 2 journalists by an alienated ex-coworker)

Now do-gooders shriek "Don't mention the name of the killer - hide it" based on some nutty theory about craving publicity - they're dead & won't know how much publicity they got.

What these killers have in common (who are not hallucinating loco) is being angry because they are alienated & have no social world. Killing others before dying gives them power over those who rejected them.

Its revenge - a classic motive

Impaired social skills so rejected by others & now angry - how do you fix that?
Bill (NYC)
Im all for gun control. I don't really care if they overturn the second amendment. But what the NYT and others on the left fail to see is any gun control short of rounding up all the guns is probably only going to have a marginal effect. The Oregon shooter had no criminal record. No background check was going to catch him. What kind of gun control do they think would have stopped this guy? Because this editorial doesn't really mention one thing that could have been done.
J.F. Stanley (San Antonio, Texas)
The debate is over. Sides have been chosen. Compromise is not possible. ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΈ.
Charlie (<br/>)
The Oregon sheriff has it right. These killers want fame. Don't give it to them. The media can report all the details they want but should never refer to The Inhuman Monster by name. It is unlikely we will ban guns or catch every mentally ill person, but this is a simple step we can all take. Erase the names of the Inhuman Monsters from history. This is a prime motivator for some of these killers; just deny them what they want.
Rudolf (New York)
These articles constantly trying to analyze what happened and why the killer would do such a thing is a waster of time. The Sick Elephant in the Room is America as a whole. Change perspective and face reality.
Esteban (Los Angeles)
I agree with Rudolf. If President Obama wants to lead the country away from gun violence he should go back to his start as a community organizer -- refocus the nation on a culture of social caring and acceptance of the mentally ill and even just weird people. He's been pushing the acceptance of gays who had been marginalized by society, so why not others? This can start with the churches and schools. There are too many isolated individuals who seem to have no alternative but social violence.
Sage View (California)
Uncivilized behavior has nothing to do with guns - the guy could just as easily used bombs or poisons!
Esteban (Los Angeles)
Yes, if his goals was to just to kill, but his goal was to go out in a blaze of glory. Hard to do with poison and bombs are not sold at the local bomb store.
KayDayJay (Closet)
The school was in a gun free zone. Can't get much stricter than that....if a person is going to obey the law.

The issue is people not guns. People.
Carl (New York)
"[T]he right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

Infringed definition from Oxford English Dictionary: "Act so as to limit or undermine (something); encroach on"

The Constitution spells out this right just after freedom of speech, press, religion and assembly in the first amendment.

Chicago has the strictest gun restrictions in the country and already has had 2,300 shootings so far this year.

How was the shooting in Oregon stopped? Guns.

Gun restrictions would have stopped none of these school. These individuals murder people and then tend to commit suicide directly or via cop. Would they be deterred by facing a gun sentence?

I can't own a gun where I live but those wish to do ill seem to have plenty of them. Do I feel more safe? Of course not.

The statists and socialists that don't respect individual liberty can go live in Europe. America was founded on the principal of individual freedom, not the pursuit of a perfect "society" in the vision of the NY Times or others that want to rank our liberties.
grizzld (alaska)
Here they go again with the anti gun rhetoric...
There are some practical non political steps that could be taken:
1. Eliminate all gun free zones because they are nothing but magnets for the crazies;
2. Allow law abiding citizens with concealed carry permits to carry firearms in gun free zones;
3. Provide more law enforcement or private armed security guards in gun free zones;
4. Pass legislation which makes parents liable for mentally ill children or adults if they are not either treated and under control or removed to a mental institution; It is long overdue to get the severely mentally ill off the streets.
5. Stop electing democrats who have an anti gun political position because they do nothing of a practical nature to reduce crime. for example, Chicago and Washington dc. , well known long term democratic party controlled cities with the most gun control laws imaginable also have the highest rate or number of shooting. If democrats can not fix those two cities of gun crime than they should be thrown out of office, forthwith.
blackmamba (IL)
What do any of your ideas have to do with the 2/3rds of the 33,000 Americans who die from gun shots every year who commit suicide?
Bob Schneider (Acton, MA)
Why not attack this problem by limiting the availability of the ammunition used in these guns? Perhaps it would be easier to restrict that, than the guns themselves.
David Taylor (norcal)
Maybe the two sides can agree to a public service announcement that parents should not give guns to or do target practice with "off"'children. Or would that cross the NRA and result in primary challenges on the GOP side?
Richard Luettgen (New Jersey)
I imagine that sooner or later we’ll figure out how to reliably identify the marginal in our society, the disturbed but sufficiently functional that they’re not institutionalized, yet still tortured enough that they represent a real threat; and effectively ban their access to firearms.

I doubt that the desired eventuality of gun control activists could happen within my remaining lifetime –the dramatic reduction of access by Americans to firearms generally.

So, what’s left but the standard political two-step?

I’m afraid, though, that I have zero sympathy for the president’s anger. He expresses anger at the occasional outrage that takes lives as if he were just any man, not our president – confident that his supporters will make excuses for his utter failure at compelling the kind of compromises that we really need. I’ll make that excuse for most men, but not for our president, and I’m just astonished at how ready so many of us have become to excuse THIS particular president of failing to be greater than any guy on the street. The gun lobby is too powerful, congressional placeholders are too pusillanimous, the people drink too much beer and like their guns too much.

He’s perhaps the most detached president in our history, watching events unfold for which he blames everyone ELSE. Is this a permanent reduction of our expectations of a president; or is it just THIS president whom we forgive so much … ineffectiveness.
Sherry Jones (Washington)
Richard Luettgen thinks President Obama could compel compromise when Republicans have staunchly opposed him and blamed him for every problem this country has since he stepped into office, who have opposed his every effort to staunch the death from gun violence. It is typical Republican rhetoric to blame him for being "detached" even though he plainly feels deeply the same human anger and horror that most of us feel, with the notable exception of Republicans. It is Republicans who personify detachment, not to mention failure, inhumanity, and reckless irresponsibility. It is Republicans who staunchly protect the unregulated right to own any kind of military assault rifle, no matter how many kindergartners lie bleeding and dead on the classroom floor, and stand eerily, robotically detached in the face of yet another mass shooting, who shrug their shoulders, and say "stuff happens."
Richard Luettgen (New Jersey)

Every president who sought to change things has been reviled by his ideological adversaries -- depending on your age, you may or may not clearly remember how Reagan was lambasted unmercifully by the left. But when it came right down to it, he could cause even those ideological adversaries to vote for actions he wished to take -- either by the force of his presence or by dickering.

Barack Obama has NO such skills. But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't hold him as our president to precisely the same standard of effectiveness. His inability to get things done that he doesn't dictate only owes something to the resistance against him -- but it owes MOST to his inability to overcome that resistance.
Peretz (Israel)
What's the point of another editorial? Americans love their guns and led by the NRA they're apparently going to keep them for a long time with few if any controls. That every so often they feed Moloch doesn't seem to bother enough people in the U.S. to change everything. Better just to ignore these senseless killings. All the wailing and editorializing does nothing.
Alan Behr (New York City)
When it comes to firearms, technology stands in the way of reason. When the Second Amendment was added to the Constitution, the right to bear arms meant you could carry a flintlock musket for service in the militia. The only way to be reasonably assured of hitting anything with a flintlock musket is to stand in a row with similarly armed men. You each fire on command and that is as lethal as any of you will get until you collectively undertake the cumbersome ritual of reloading. The "arms" that you were so permitted to "bear" would have caused none of the hideous massacres we have seen too many times over the past several years. This is purely fantasy, but would it not be lovely if a federal court should revisit all this and interpret the word "arms" in the Second Amendment to mean single-shot weapons? Lucky NRA members: it turns out, single-shot weapons work just fine for the target shooting and hunting you claim are major reasons you deserve to own and carry lethal weapons, and they are pretty bad for holdups and gang wars. Channel the spirit of Davy Crockett to learn more about it.
Jingo (Farmingdale)
Video Games:
1) they make shooting people seem casual
2) the young boys that play 24/7 are mentally-disturbed social misfits
Chuck (Ohio)
More legislation. however feel good it appears, will NOT STOP HUMAN EVIL. We can,, of course, try the method of mandatory confiscation. helped on by no knock raids and sesrches . Should that happen , we will no longer have a Bill of Rights. Just saying.
For the record am a past member of the ACLU.
R. R. (NY, USA)
Liberals want gun control. Good.

Conservatives want stricer law enforcement. Good.

Both are need. These one sided arguments are weak.

The US must do EVERYTHING to stop violence.
Bhaskar (Dallas)
The pro-gun argument fell flat the day Chris Kyle, a professional sharp shooter, lost his life, unable to defend against a rank amateur. This tragic irony weakens any argument offered by "guns are for personal safety" apologists.
You can't blame Donald Trump for his clumsy defense of guns, his strings are being pulled by his republican party pledge.
Ignacio Couce (Los Angeles, CA)
If President Obama and the Democrats had some intellectual integrity, they would include repeal of the 2nd Amendment and confiscation of guns that are in private hands as a central plank of 2016 Democratic Party platform.

To help them in that effort, I have taken the liberty to start that drive.
Charles31 (Massachusetts)
Why was the concept of "a well-regulated militia" neutered by the SCOTUS? It certainly wasn't because of the constitutional orthodoxy of original intent. Could it have been pure politics?
MLH (Rural America)
Please read Heller v District of Columbia.
Sharon (Seattle)
Do we think gun control will work? It worked in Australia, where many companies test their new products before launching in the US. It most approximates the impact in the US. In 1996 after a mass shooting, Australia enacted strict gun control and there hasn't been a mass shooting since.
Larry Gr (Mt. Laurel NJ)
Not quite true. Hecktovill shooting and siege 2011, Hecktorviile Australia. Monash University shooting 2002. Also mass murders by arson and stabbings since 1996.
Ronald Giteck (Minnesota)
Why don't we require gun insurance like car insurance? Both are ubiquitous lethal devices. The cost of insurance would discourage private arsenals. It would allow for the confiscation of uninsured guns. It would require gun registration. While gun insurance does not solve all the problems of rampant gun use, it would help. What's wrong with this?
wfisher1 (fairfield, ia)
I'm surprised the Republicans haven't taken the same route they do on climate change, "I'm not a scientist.". They can claim they're not a psychologist.

Actually, I don't see the use of a comment here. The polls show 88% of the American public favor enhanced background checks along with other changes, but the Politicians (becoming a dirty word) ignore us and just do what those throwing them money say to do.
Jacques (New York)
Following yet another workplace mass shooting the NRA today called for a ban on workplaces. Just about sums up the absurdity of the situation.
AIR (Brooklyn)
I favor just one handgun per household. That would satisfy the Supreme Court's decision on the 2nd Amendment.
cc320 (Washington)
This is what I would like in new gun laws:

1. Every gun registered and tracked
2. Firing requires a electronic signature lock (such as a proximity tag
the user must wear and use)
3. Mandatory training and yearly inspection of every gun owned (just like cars are inspected every year)
4. Abolish military style guns except in gun ranges
5. Make gun owners responsible for stolen guns
6. Cannot own more than one or two guns (why do you need more than that for protection?)
etc. etc.
7. Must not report on the person's name and background commiting mass murder (we can pass a law, can't we to do this?). Eliminate 15 min. of fame with this.

I can go on, but there is a way to solve this madness with better laws and regulation.
blackmamba (IL)
And under which Constitution or in what country or legislature or judiciary do you believe any of your ideas are likely politically and legally achievable?
rob (98275)
" Republican candidates should be no less tired of sending condolences."Instead theirs are "nothing can be done ( other than arming yet MORE non law enforcement people ) " responses; in Jeb Bush's case in the most insensitive words: " Stuff happens." Except neither this nor the other mass shootings just "happen." The Oregon shooter had a total of 13 guns,of which he brought 6 to the collage with,strongly suggesting that rather than this shooting just randomly happening,he carefully planned for it,including what and how many guns to take with him,prior to his deadly deed.What Jeb calls " stuff "are the killings of more innocent people.Other Republicans imply that the victims share the blame for their deaths;"If only some the victims had been armed "....But students shouldn't be in class fearing some gunning the down to begin with.And MORE GUNS being randomly fired amid the chaos and panic is the prescription for even worse carnage.It is true,as Mike Huckabee pointed out ,that it was guns that stopped the gunman;but he omits the key fact that they were fired by trained law enforcement officers.
The buying of 13 guns by one individual should raise red flags,and justify law enforcement keeping a close on that person. If the courts would allow that.The status quo on behalf of the pro gun crowd is no longer acceptable to we non gun owners.We insists as a start the legal requirement of back checks prior to ALL private gun sales.
Frank Language (New York, NY)
How many more times is this going to have to happen?
Student (New York, NY)
To all of you pro gun folks:
I wish I could be like you. I wish I could trust people like you do. You trust that I will always be rational simply because, at the time I bought my guns, I had never been convicted of a crime and had never been diagnosed with mental illness. You trust that I won't play with my guns blind drunk. You trust that I won't fly into a jealous rage. You trust that I won't join some crazy extremist group. You trust that I will clear the chamber before cleaning my gun. You trust that I won't leave it out for your or my kids to find. you trust me with the power to kill you whenever I want. I wish I could be like you.
Norman G. Ehrlich (Milford, PA)
Per TIME magazine: every year, guns are used legitimately in defense of self and property 150,000 times, when the police are not around to do so.

Does one wish to be as irrational as the anti-gunners and imagine that the police will always be around to protect you, with all the evidence to the contrary? Is illusion (or delusion) redeeming?
Student (New York, NY)
ah, stats. okay, but there are over 30,000 gun deaths per year. now, not everybody who gets shot dies. so if we count injuries we are probably up around the same number of 150,000 plus or minus injured or killed by guns each year.
Norman G. Ehrlich (Milford, PA)
Student, please learn: banning guns would eliminate the 150,000 self-defense cases but would do little to your 30,000.

Pavlovian reflexes do come at a cost.
Janet Sneath (Key West, FL)
Yes, there is a mental health issue. It is the mental health of those who continually refuse to take reasonable steps to deal with this problem. Those who support the availability of arms of war to the general civilian population need to have their collective heads examined.
Steve Hunter (Seattle)
Christopher Harper-Mercer the perfect poster boy for the NRA and the GOP., need anymore be said.
Honest Anthony (Manteca, Ca)
No city can stop graffiti. The closest we've come is making graffiti legal and it kinda changed the art/vandalism into something a little better. Think about it. We cant even stop graffiti. Money isn't the issue. The police and laws help but the core tool to fight crime has always been good parenting which creates good workers (teachers, business leaders, politicians), which eventually leads to a good culture/society.
Trakker (Maryland)
Yes, and we still haven't cured cancer after all the billions we've spent we should just give up?

If graffiti killed thousands of innocents every year, you can bet your boots we would find ways to reduce it.
Mary Kay Klassen (Mountain Lake, Minnesota)
Both this shooter and the one from Newton, had three things in common, aspberger's, lots of guns in the home, and a doting mother. There is something not right about the ability with some of these mothers to deal with their sons, who both should of been hospitalized, something that is in the history books as the so called politicians believe that giving drugs to all these young men will take care of things like giving a child candy!
Why (Houston TX)
When you know your son, ever since he is little, is mentally ill or has trouble control his emotion, why would you take him to target shooting? Or let him own guns and own many of them?
watao (Germany)
Because you can. Apparently Mercer and his mom did nothing illegal. That's what shocks me infinitely more than any failings of the mother! People make mistakes or behave irrational sometimes - you can't change that. But you can make laws that don't let people near a gun in the first place.
Jim (Ogden UT)
The number of Americans against gun control laws is now at a majority and it's still trending upward, despite tragedies like Newtown. With this in mind, plus the financial persuasion of the NRA, it's not hard to understand why politicians aren't rushing to establish sensible gun laws.
We can blame the gun lobby all we want, but until a majority of Americans demand better gun laws nothing will change.
vishmael (madison, wi)
As sound track to this conversation: YouTube - Cheryl Wheeler - "If It Were Up To Me"
Jim (Wisconsin)
It's a highly irrational reaction to focus on guns as the source of the problem related to these crazy mass killings. A bomb goes off and nobody blames the bomb. If a crazy anti-Christian person kills 20 innocent people on a sidewalk with a Jeep would folks call for a ban on Jeeps? How about kitchen knives? In China mass slayings with a standard kitchen knife has several times taken the lives of more people than the Oregon incident. Please, please stop the focus on the weapon of crime and focus on the crime itself. Take away guns from the lawful and only the lawless and cops will have guns. Take away guns and the crazy will use pipe bombs, or cars, or knives, or bats, or acid, or whatever. Gun laws are already in place. I repeat, gun laws are already in place. Crazy people and criminals will still get lethal means to kill. Let's address craziness and crime. The Obama administration and it’s communications department, the NYTimes, need to stop the anti-gun crusade and focus on societal causes of the mass killings. Afraid to do that?
lri (<br/>)
Why didn't you publish my comment (more than 2 hours ago) suggesting that the Times stop publishing photos and biographies of shooters in the paper - and certainly not on the front/home page? As your editorial suggests, this type of notoriety can be a glorious incentive for copycats. Please consider following the example of the Oregon sheriff who refused to even speak the name of the gunman to the media.
fromjersey (new jersey)
The 2nd amendment was created to ward off gov't militia, meanwhile the party that supports gun ownership, is spinning the need for more wars ... internally and externally. They love the fight, they hate the talk. Talking is a sign of evolution, violence is a sign of reductive and exclusionary thinking.
ZAW (Houston, TX)
Obviously we need common sense gun laws. A big part of that is to close the loopholes that are so pervasive in how those laws are enforced. EVERY legal gun sale should include a background check. No more exceptions for gun shows and private sales. We put people on the Moon for God's sake, we can surely figure out how to make this work. All guns sold should come with gun locks, too. We lock our cars - simple logic says guns should be locked as well.
But it would be naive to think that common sense gun laws will prevent all deaths. There was a horrifying case here in Houston a few months ago. A man who was severely mentally ill broke into a woman's back yard, and beat her to death. (There was no gun involved). He had previously attacked his mother, who had pled for him to be admitted to a mental hospital. There wasn't room. The reality is that mental health care has been eviscerated in this country. There simply aren't enough beds for people suffering severe, debilitating - often deadly mental illnesses.
In short: this shouldn't be an either/or question. We need common sense gun control, AND we need to rebuild our mental health care system in this country. I just wish more people would open their eyes and see this.
Thomas (Tustin, CA)
We need a 20,000,000 Mother's march on the Republican Congress.
Michael N. Alexander (Lexington, MA)
Suggestion from my wife: instead of regulating guns, we should regulate ammunition.
fast&amp;furious (the new world)
At least no innocent fetuses were killed. That we know of.
Maani (New York, NY)
As usual, Republicans are clueless, thoughtless, willfully ignorant...or worse, while Democrats continue to talk sense about the need for at least SOME gun control - something, ironically, that the majority of the NRA's members support.

Which brings me to this question: if so many NRA members are unhappy with the way the NRA is representing them - and ignoring their own requests and support for sensible gun control - maybe they should cancel their membership. After all, nothing scares a lobbying group more than the mass exodus of its members. And that may be the only thing that will actually make any difference here.
Michael Piscopiello (Higgganum Ct)
It's time to take some guns away from the public. Period
Willie (Louisiana)
And them with who? Politicians and cops?
Cynic Malgre Lui (San Diego, Cal.)
I call upon President Obama to dedicate his post-presidency to the fight for gun control, a needy and worthy cause like no other.
Shirley Eis (Stamford, CT)
Unfortunately you cannot shame the shameless. In the end it is about the financial and political clout of the gun manufacturers and their distributors coupled with the politicians who put election and re-election above the good of their country.

In a nation that requires a license to operate a motor vehicle, how can one use the constitution to argue against gun control. After all how will they get around with their weapons to overthrow a tyrannical government.

Only when the voting public holds these politicians accountable will things change.

Just as licensing drivers does not eliminate fatal car accidents, strong gun laws with thorough background checks won't end all gun violence it will, however, go a long way as evidenced by results in other countries.
Socrates (Verona, N.J.)
The right wing of America is fighting hard for a 2nd Amendment that reads as follows:

"The right to be randomly slaughtered by a mentally imbalanced male with a gun fetish SHALL NOT be infringed."

That is the Republican interpretation of the United States Constitution.

The 2nd Amendment is a serious mental disorder.
albeaumont (British Columbia, Canada)
My previous comment is still waiting to be accepted The fact that Americans are debating mass murders shows the sickness in America. I love America, but it seems that there is nowhere to be safe.
Larry (San Francisco Bay Area)
Remember that Carly Fiorina, in her California senate campaign, refused to even consider tightening up gun sales to choke off the supply of assault weapons going to the drug cartels south of our border, weapons used against our own DEA agents. More guns, more death, more sanctimonious piety, the cycle goes on. Own it Republicans.
paul mountain (salisbury)
We canonize Navy Seals and demonize depressed gun lovers. Lithium or Congressional Medal of Honor?
April Kane (38.0299° N, 78.4790° W)
Virginia used to have a law that only allowed a buyer to purchase one gun a month, then a Republican Governor and predominantly Republican House of Delegates overturned the law to allow as many purchases as one wants.

You know we all need to be able to buy a new gun every day, 365 days a year.
JT (Minneapolis, MN)
If only politicians went after the NRA and gum manufacturers with the same zeal they do with Planned Parenthood
An American (North Carolina)
One of the best scenes in the Movie "Lincoln" was the one where they voted on the Amendment to abolish slavery. In this scene the director had the camera slowly linger on each politician while their real name was read and each voiced "no". I found this to be a just accounting for those historical figures to have their name associated with an immoral public vote in their capacity in the legislative branch.

Similarly, we need to have an actual bill before Congress on measures to reduce gun violence. I presume the current leaders of the House have blocked putting a bill on the Congressional agenda. This is too bad. The American People deserve to hear a "yes" or "no" from each politician responsible for doing something in this crisis. The public "no" vote can be displayed every time a mentally ill person owns multiple tactical firearms and commits mass murder, which, unfortunately happens every month.

Instead of hyperbole lets have a real vote on the real floors of legislature. In the current political representation the vote may indeed be negative. But history will have the "no" votes associated with real names when its time to account.
Paula (East Lansing, Michigan)
Isn't the bottom line that Republicans just don't care about the bloodshed? How could they? If they cared, they would do something.

Look at what they DO care about: abortion--countless proposals every year in every state and at the federal level despite a Supreme Court decision finding this to be a constitutionally protected right.

Obamacare--endless votes to repeal it, governors refusing free money for their states, allowing their citizens to suffer, constant campaigning on the issue.

Tax cuts--every proposal by every Republican is for more tax cuts for wealthy people, even though it would blow up the deficit which they claim to care about. Got a surplus? Tax cuts! Got a deficit? Tax cuts! Going to war? Tax cuts!!!

Military adventures--watch their talking heads--they all want Obama to be more of a "man"--like the macho Vladimir Putin. We would have been involved in many wars over the last 7 years if John McCain had been elected, even though our wars of choice always end badly.

Now compare that to their position on guns: "let's enforce the laws we do have", "gun laws don't work", "gun laws only stop law-abiding people from protecting themselves, the bad guys still get the guns". Sigh. What a bunch of defeatist "sorry, nothing we can do" failures.

Conclusion: they just don't care. So if you hear their condolences, see them for the hypocritical lies that they are.
jb (weston ct)
"The Republican presidential candidates were quick to offer sympathy but little else to the nation..."

Unlike the Democratic presidential candidates and Democratic president, all of whom offered, well, what? Oh that's right, sympathy AND "understandable fury and near despair". Gee, that will help.

President Obama and candidates Clinton and Sanders were all in a position to do something about gun violence when Democrats controlled the White House, Senate and House 2008-2010. They did not. And all the sympathy, fury and despair now does not change that simple fact. Talk is cheap. So is fury and despair, no matter how 'understandable'.
Ton van Lierop (Amsterdam)
"The second amendment has been the subject of one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word 'fraud,' on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime."
Warren Burger, chief justice of the US from 1969 till 1986, a Republican, appointed by Nixon.

For more than 200 years following the adoption of the amendment, federal judges uniformly understood that the right protected by that text was limited in two ways: First, it applied only to keeping and bearing arms for military purposes, and second, while it limited the power of the federal government, it did not impose any limit whatsoever on the power of states or local governments to regulate the ownership or use of firearms.

And then the gun industry lobby, also known as the NRA, somehow succeeded in convincing many politicians, and some supreme court justices, that the amendment meant that any person could acquire any gun at any time, in any way.
But it still is, as chief justice Burger said, a FRAUD.
LesHurley (Carlisle, PA)
It's not the availability of guns that is behind the mass killings for the last few years; it is the failure of our society to teach young people the value of morality, in the name of political correctness. Let's change that!
Paul David Bell (Dallas)
Back in the days when behavioral psychology ruled the world, a man by the name of Albert Bandura demonstrated that children could be 'conditioned' by merely watching a behavior being rewarded. That is, watching a behavior being rewarded tended to the increase the incidence of the behavior in children that observed it. It was ground breaking work that has oozed it's way into our society in the form of the theory of role modeling.

Therefore, before you 'gun-controllers' start violating gun owners rights, I would like for you to make it ILLEGAL to show all forms of gun violence on TV, movie and video games. Duh, has anyone ever noticed how much mass shootings look like video game shootings? We know social learning is real. So let's use science to curb mass shootings by eliminating scenes of it from the media.

Stop the media from portraying gun violence as romantic. Then, we can talk about limiting our 2nd amendment rights.
Charles Powell (Vermont)
Every steel bullet represents a hundred more stones which were thrown with cruelty against this young man's childhood heart. Every student he murdered represents 10 dreams this young man had seen taken from him, dreams of justice, peace and community. For his weakness he was overrun by the power of impatience. For his childhood innocence he was given evil of ridicule. He returned evil for evil.

He consulted his hardened heart and he consulted his wounded mind, he considered himself wise. He still desired justice. He amassed ammunition and weapons. He still desired peace. He sought the sheltering safe haven of his own mother’s apartment. These were his dreams spoiled and deluded by our hardened hearts, by our closed minds, by our lives unwilling to sacrifice for him. He wanted life, and inflicted death. He wanted happiness and settled for adrenaline. He wanted love and acceptance, and settled for infamy. He sought public responsibility but no longer understood personal responsibility. He sought public fairness but did no longer knew personal fairness.

Trained men violently put him down. Trained men and women call us innocent. Trained tongues call him the shooter. We, the hard hearted, we the closed minded, we the unwilling to sacrifice, we make our sacrifice to the cycle of blame and violence and blame. It is a cycle not broken, because there are not enough broken hearts.
jubilee133 (Woodstock, New York)
Following each such mass casualty event involving guns, the Times gets a call from the current administration, and its current editorial reads like a screed from the party's Left Wing.

Mr. Obama of late has displayed his "anger" not against Iran, the Russians, or Islamic fascism, but against opponents of his Iran deal, and of course, guns.

As a member of the electorate, a Democrat, and a gun owner, I have become only "numb" to the arguments against guns.

But I have become entirely receptive to re-invigorating "stop & search" in our cities to prevent gun carnage despite Fourth Amendment absolutists. The Times seeks to contrast Republican "bromides" with Obama "fury" and "near despair" and this well describes my fury and despair at a president who cannot find the "fury" to decry the weekly slaughter by guns of young black men in palces like Chicago by supporting "stop & frisk." If we are going to limit the Second Amendment, in the name of "national security," surely there is room within the Fourth Amendment for "stop & frisk."

When I read and hear balanced proposals for regulating gun ownership and use, coupled with a campaign that recognizes "Blue Lives Matter," and a "broken windows" policing policy which draws bi-partisan support instead of overwrought condemnation by self-described civil libertarians, you can have some of my guns.

Till then, the "gun lobby" and the "Fourth Amendment absolutists" are ironic partners in this dance of death.
YikeGrymon (Wilmo, DE)
"The state-sponsored citizens report on the gun massacre of 20 schoolchildren and six workers in Newtown, Conn., in 2012 concluded there is 'no legitimate place in the civilian population' for fast-firing rifles and large-capacity magazines that were invented for the military but have flooded the American marketplace."

Well, okay. Not to dis the commission, or its efforts, or anything else... but I've never been able to grasp why any of us need to be TOLD about that lack of a legitimate place, as noted here. Why so much attention to what is self-evident? Or at least should be?
Dee (Los Angeles, CA)
I wonder why the killer's mom took him to the shooting range if he had a history of violent behavior. Somehow, you'd think she would try another activity besides 'gun play.'
Scott (Washington)
To all you experts that claim the problem is 'easy access to guns', why don't you explain for us all the process of lawful gun acquisition?
A Mehdi (Bristol CT)
Our Constitution needed to be updated 2nd amendment should have been updated 70 years ago. Am sorry to see the lose of life due to old laws. Freedom doesn't mean any one can have weapons of mass killing just to break news. Common sense is no longer common due to political dynasties and media.
albeaumont (British Columbia, Canada)
A few shootings ago, my rejected comment was that everything had been said before. Yet again, and I do love America.
love tennis (Santa Fe)
Easy access to guns is NOT at the heart of the problem. I am not a gun person......I don't own one. But I am thinking we, (my wife and I), are going to need one the way the world is going. Note the rise in gun sales after an incident like this last. At the heart of the problem is overpopulation. There are way too many people in the world and this makes life cheap. We no longer need each other for the survival of our species. Instead we have to compete with each other to see who is going to survive.
Nora01 (New England)
On an NPR talk show yesterday a gun owner offered an interesting suggestion. He said that anyone buying a gun should have to qualify for it by releasing their mental health record. Now, that might have a small effect. However, not all people poised to conduct a mass shooting have a record of mental health care even if they need it.

Others suggested that more mental health care was needed. Sure it is and has been for decades but that will not solve the problem as it is very difficult to predict any individual human action. Even if a person says they are ready to shoot in to a crowd and the therapist manages to get a commitment order, the person will be released within 72 hours unless a judge rules otherwise.

So, no, mental health treatment alone will do little to stem the tide.

The bigger issue is why are we allowing the sale of semiautomatic weapons with large clips that serve no purpose other than killing humans? Why are we allowing their sale to the public on a moment's notice? What good are the background checks in place since they are so ineffective? Who is enforcing them? Anyone?

We, the average citizens, are caught between a militarized police force and shooters with military assault weapons. Where is our right to safety? Are there so few of us in this country that we don't count?
Sheldon Bunin (Jackson Heights, NY)
IF the NRA had its way every adult would be armed, all the time everywhere. It used to be said that Social Security is the 3rd rail of politics. but clearly it is not, as the GOP given its way, would increase the retirement age to seventy. Guns are the 3rd rail of politics.

The NRA not the people clearly owns the majority of congress and all of the GOP. It rates each congressman on their anti gun control voting record. These are the same people who cry “we want our country back.” It is about time that the majority of the voters take their country back from the NRA and refuse to elect or reelect anyone who opposes measures to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and mental cases and those who cannot pass a background test.. If I had my way we would enact a law making it a felony, except for professional police and the military to cross a state line with a handgun; but I’d settle for background checks and a 30 day waiting period to take possession of a handgun.
JES (New York)
If, until, we can overcome the political ritual, and have reasonable gun safety laws, I hope that victims can at least use civil courts. One article states that this shooters mother knew about his guns and went to gun ranges with him. (like Nancy Lanza). And further stated that some of the firearms belonged to "family members." Clearly this mother and the family members knew that this shooter had psychiatric issues. The mother and any family members who participated in this shooter's access to firearms should all be sued. Even if no money is recovered, a multi million dollar judgment could send a message to family members like this mother and Nancy Lanza that they bear some responsibility for encouraging seriously psychiatrically ill and/or antisocial personality disorder adult children who live with them to have and use firearms. (Which are kept in their homes!)
Ken Nyt (Chicago)
Increasingly it seems to me that society staggers along despite the existence of politics and politicians.
NorthCountryRambler (Schroon Lake, NY)
I completely agree with your suggestions to hold the politicians' feet to the fire, but I also agree with Senator Sanders when he says that urban voters (and I suggest columnists) must be sensitive to the needs and customs of rural residents. I completely agree with the need for enhanced national background checks, and I say this as a lifelong hunter and gun owner. As a hunter, however, I too have the thirteen firearms mentioned in your column (locked in a gun safe), and I shudder at the thought of how that would be portrayed in my favorite newspaper if I were ever a topic of discussion. As a voter, I have always abhorred litmus test issues and absolutist arguments, but I am swayed by President Obama's request that we examine our candidate's voting record on these issues, to the exclusion of everything else, before pulling the lever.
Liz (Utah)
How about the complicity of the press when publishing the names of shooters? These people openly want to be known and remembered for their horrific actions. The least we could do is not make them famous and keep the names unprinted.
Rogie21 (NJ)
As usual Marco Rubio responds to a mass gun killing with illogical thinking.
He repeats the gun lobby staple, “criminals don’t follow gun laws,” ignoring the fact not requiring background checks at gun shows tells criminals that these show are the place to buy guns with zero risk.

He also contends that passing more gun laws would simply prevent law abiding people from being able to defend themselves. However, closing the gun show loophole simply makes the rules of gun purchases consistent. Can anyone imagine if 40% of roads were not subject to traffic laws? A background check through National Instant Criminal Background Check System takes just minutes with approval given in approximately 90% of inquiries. If you’re a law-abiding person, the background check has cost you a few minutes and doesn’t prevent you from defending yourself.

Where could new laws help keep guns out of criminal hands? Increasing the penalties for anyone who sells guns outside of the NICS system--with agreed upon exceptions. Ramping up the penalties for trafficking in illegal guns to mandate 20 years in a federal prison with no exceptions. If we have to build a few more prisons, it would be well worth it.
Cyndi Brown (Franklin, TN)
The common thread among all of these mass shootings is mental illness.

What troubles me, is that, even though Christopher Mercer's own mother admitted "My son is dealing with some mental issues..." she regularly accompanied him to the shooting range. It appears by all media accounts that she may have herself suffered from mental illness.

If the media reports are correct, Christopher Harper-Mercer obtained all of his weapons legally, and had no criminal record. It is unrealistic to believe that we can rid the world of guns. Lawmakers can pass laws all day long, making it harder to get guns legally, but the truth is, that the bad guys will always be able to get guns illegally in some back alley. And because of this irrefutable fact, Americans will always want guns in order to protect their families and their homes.

I have to wonder...had Chris Mintz, the hero in all the madness, been carrying, how many more lives might have been saved?

If lawmakers truly want to make a difference, then they need to tackle the issue of mental illness long before gun control.

Lawmakers can battle over gun control until the cows come home, but as long as there is mental illness in the world, there will sadly be mass shootings.
Suzanna (<br/>)
Are all killers mentally ill? Or just the ones who own lots of guns and shoot lots of people? Several shooters never lived to have their day in court, and how many of us have been skeptical about insanity pleas? If you are on the fringe of society does that make you mentally ill?
Ken A (Portland, OR)
Hmm, most other developed countries have much stricter gun regulation than we do and probably not coincidentally, they have fewer mass shootings. Do you really think it's because they have less mental illness? Would you be so nonchalant about it if one of your family members was killed by a mass shooter?
Mathsquatch (Northern Virginia)
I assume that neither your Representative nor your Senators are reading the NYT comments section this morning. Please write them a personal letter. You can bet the NRA is urging its members to do exactly that.
ACJ (Chicago, IL)
We, as a nation, must face the truth, this is who we are --- we love guns and we are a violent people---it is that simple. All talk of common sense gun laws is just noise, the signal, is clear, we have a culture, who believes that or survival as a nation depends on maintaining the second amendment---without it, we will become victims of a tyrannical government and the Zombie apocalypse.
DMS (San Diego)
Remedy for mass shootings: publish photos of the dead. Few people of conscience would be able to voice absurdist platitudes about gun 'rights' if they could actually see the results. Show the little kids killed at Sandy Hook. Show the prayer group killed in Charleston. Show the students killed in their classrooms. What on earth are we protecting ourselves from? Horror? There's enough of that to go around.
After WWII, German villagers surrounding the death camps were forced to walk among the dead and LOOK at the carnage they claimed no knowledge of. Every time a sanitized version of the latest gun horror gets reduced to "our hearts go out to them" we foster a similar amnesia in ourselves. We need to LOOK at what we've done here. We need to walk among the dead.
EuroAm (Oh)
"...politicians should be talking about the easy access to guns that is behind the country's scourge of violence..."

Wrong! That's so wrong on many levels!
Guns are the tools of the outraged individual...
External problems made that individual; feel outraged, instilled a sense of helplessness, go over the edge, load-up a bunch of weapons and to abandon his heretofore civilized behavior.

Helplessness, isolation and hopeless-frustrations in the face of seemingly insurmountable problems; that's what's behind "the country's scourge of violence." It has been a reoccurring theme since before Columbine. Let the politicians work on those problems, some of which they are partly culpable.

Trying to regulate only the firearms while ignoring the underlying problem(s) leading to inappropriate weapons a sure fire recipe for more violence and disbelief.
jp (N.Y.C.)
All societies have weapons, is not a matter of prohibiting them. But many societies have control on weapons and their uses, and do not have this huge weapon market and bussiness available to anyone. We restrict alcohol to people under 21 but allow them and sometimes encourage them to have weapons. Weird.
dEs JoHnson (Forest Hills)
Nope. Not all societies are awash in guns as the USA is.
Barry J (Miami)
MENTAL HEALTH CENTERS. Johnson established them; Nixon closed them. Police, educators, social workers do not have enough centers to which to refer those in need. In addition to evaluation and therapy they would do education and outreach so everyone would be more aware of the signs of mental illness and those who need counseling can get it. We must raise this to the level of a Mars journey and commit major resources to. Only then might we get potential violent people into the systemZ.
paul (stewart)
Actually , "Mental Health " facilities were around a long time before LBJ. They were closed by state judges who were prodded by their legislators who no longer wanted to
pay the costs. Declaring these "warehouses" violated Civil Rights ,they loosed upon our streets what the Media benignly call The Homeless , and allowed the mentally ill to walk into our schools and movie theatres and shoot people by the scores.
Sameer (San Jose, CA)
I've a message for all the gun lovers and their juvenile sense of machismo: please eat all your beloved guns for breakfast, I'll pay for them.
Matthew McLaughlin (Pittsburgh PA)
Fact checks
-Mother w/student at school said CNN: We do talk but anti-gun people don't like answer (but horrors she was former GOP councilman)
-By time I was 20 as collector ha d18 guns incl modern ones (all gone sad to say). No one shot.
-All guns powerful enough to . Have been since circa 1300
-O offers no proposals. Except fewer/no guns; more crime. (cf John Locke studies)
-No gun lobby. Most voters love guns. Period.
-Anti-gun; lose election. (Google dems lose elections because of support gun controls.)
-Pew: support gun rts. increases.
-Gallup: Less than1/2 US Support Stricter Gun laws.
-Gallup: 73% say handguns possessing not be banned.Me: Would include semi autos all w/ fast reload capability w/ extra magazines.
-Great majority state electorates/legislators don't favor restrictions. e.g. only 7 ban "high capacity" magazines. NB hi capacity only those over 10 bullets.
-e.g. 46 states allow " concealed carry". 8 of them w/out permit. Rest are "shall issue" states i.e. no need to show reason for license.
- A cartridges are hi powered i.e. can kill.
-Are not modern. Cartridges widely introduced 1870.Permitting multi shot magazines.
-"Smokeless"/ modern powder introduced 1890. Permitting semi auto pistols which widely avail 1900,
-"Mass" shootings not epidemic. NYT 9/27/15 When Coumbine Invoked, Fears Overshadow Facts. (Me but rampant shootings particularly poor hi crime areas increasing.
-Controls don't affect avail. cf Mexico where legally handguns banned
copeching (US)
Once again, look around the world at industrialized countries--why is this happening, with ever increasing frequency, in the US? Is it that there is a greater proportion of mentally ill people in our population compared to other countries where you don't see this happening? Really, is this the argument? What a scary country.
Jimmy (Greenville, North Carolina)
President Obama must issue an executive order for immediate gun control laws.
dEs JoHnson (Forest Hills)
The POTUS can't make law... check the US Constitution. He can change the emphasis on how some laws are enforced.
SN (Florida)
Please ask Jeb whether the shooter could defend himself with the stand your ground law
nothere (ny)
Why is it that we never hear the opinion of law enforcement agencies? I can't imagine most police officers and sheriff's deputies being in favor of guns for all. Why aren't their voices, presumably voices that Republicans would respect, heard at all? Why don't they speak up?
Campesino (Denver, CO)
Because most aren't in favor of gun control as you believe they do. Here in Colorado, the county sheriffs sued to overturn stricter gun laws.
MN (Michigan)
They do; they have supported and spoken in Congress in support of gun registration and background checks, but they have not persuaded the majority of representatives and senators. They have tried.
Ken A (Portland, OR)
Have you not been paying attention? The Sheriff of Douglas County, where the shooting in Oregon took place, wrote to VP Biden after Sandy Hook to say that he was opposed to any additional gun control laws, and would not enforce them if they were passed. He also approvingly posted a Sandy Hook "Truther" video on his Facebook page. Of course, he just reflects the values of the people that elected him.
Will (NY)
For all those who appeared on the 24 hour news channels and spun the story, intentionally or not, to make it about mental health rather than guns, I have one word. Australia.
billd (Colorado Springs)
Scoop up the guns.

Impossible? Nope. Australia did it.
David Henry (Walden Pond.)
""Mental illness" is the NRA mantra now.

It justifies all the gun fanatics lust for as many guns as possible everywhere. It would also be nice to see some compassion for gun victims. The lack of it, followed by the robotic defense of the contradictory 2nd amendment gives the scam away.
srwdm (Boston)
An across-the-board strategy must be used that addresses the many issues involved, including mental and societal health, BUT

RESTRICTING GUN AVAILABILITY must be a centerpiece of our strategy.

We can also not overstate the importance of family members and their responsibility. In the current case a troubled young man was known (by members of his family) to have a large number of firearms.
Evan Swensen (Anchorage, Alaska)
If strict guns laws were the answer then Chicago would be the safest city in America. Just over 50 people shot last weekend in the city with the toughest gun laws; 2,300 shootings so far this year in Chicago. I sure don't know the answer, but gun laws don't seem to be it. However, it seems that most, if not all, of these criminals have one thing in common: they come from dysfunctional families. What can America do to strengthen families may be a better question than making stronger laws that don't work--given Chicago as the example.
Campesino (Denver, CO)
Just over 50 people shot last weekend in the city with the toughest gun laws; 2,300 shootings so far this year in Chicago.


And oddly enough Obama never talks about it
J Burkett (Austin, TX)
Friday, on Morning Joe, my (R) Congressman was called a "coward"
by the father of the female reporter shot dead on camera in August.
Like most Republicans, Rep. Michael McCaul opposes any gun legislation, preferring instead to bow to the NRA.

Interestingly, a few hours later, McCaul's latest newsletter appeared in my email. Usually I ignore them ~ this time I did not. I felt he needed to be reminded that a majority of Americans WANT stricter gun laws.

I encourage everyone here to read today's Letters to the Editor, specifically the one from Ireland. Then write or call your representatives. It's time to speak up and get loud.

In my se
Campesino (Denver, CO)
I felt he needed to be reminded that a majority of Americans WANT stricter gun laws.


No they don't:

Less Than Half of Americans Support Stricter Gun Laws
Francesco (Europe)
I really couldn't care less. As long as US forces indiscriminately bombs civilians, weddings, hospitals (Kunduz today) and supports (among many other murderous regimes) Saudi Arabia who indiscriminately bombs civilians in Yemen who cares that people inside the US keep killing each other. The US policy on gun-control and therefore weapons control is sick to the core. This wild-west mentality is despicable. You reap what you sow.
Doris (Chicago)
It is a fact that conservatives have been bought and paid for by the NRA and the gun manufacturers. Republicans in congress spend millions of dollars investigating the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, for political reasons, but refuse to even look at gun safety laws when thousands of people are killed in this country.

Republcians are really OK with mass murders and gun related deaths and no gun control; to them it is just "stuff happens". All other outcries have people with mental illness, but they don't have the gun culture we have here, or the hate group that is the NRA.
Campesino (Denver, CO)
It is a fact that conservatives have been bought and paid for by the NRA and the gun manufacturers


The NRA doesn't spend much money on campaigns. It has power because its positions are popular. The NRA has a better favorability rating than President Obama or Hillary Clinton
KarlosTJ (Bostonia)
The Constitution, written by people with greater knowledge of history than anyone who writes for the NYT, has as its 2nd Amendment a rule that grants every American a right to bear arms. This was not written as a joke. This was not written with "....but only if technology doesn't ever change..." at the end. It was written to provide individuals with the right to defend themselves against a government that had granted itself the power to attack its citizens.

The Weimar Republic (precursor to the Nazis) established gun control laws including registration of all Germans owning guns. The Nazis made use of this information, and intentionally sought out Jews and other "undesirables" who had registered as gun owners and deprived them of their weapons, while simultaneously relaxing such restrictions for Nazi Party members. This is precisely what the 2nd Amendment writers intended to prevent.

Gun control laws have never prevented murder. The only thing they prevent is the right of honest citizens to self-defense.
Socrates (Verona, N.J.)
"The right to be randomly slaughtered by a mentally imbalanced male with a gun fetish SHALL NOT be infringed."

The 2nd Amendment is a mental disorder.
Ann (Maine)
This whole country is sick of this. Prayers and thoughts for the victims families, over and over again. It's not enough.

Then we have the people who have to amass high powered military type weapons because ISIS is here and they'll fight them when they show up in our back yard. Oh, and lets not forget that President Obama (apparently personally) is going to come and get your guns. Guns on campus, open carry anywhere is some states, because the boogey man is going to get you.

I'll tell you one thing, if I see some person with a military type weapon slung over their shoulder in the grocery store, an airport the local coffee shop or where ever, I'm out of there. I don't know these people, what if I looked at them in a way that irritated them, are they going to blow me away?

Why is it legal to purchase a military weapon? What is the point of owning a gun whose sole purpose is to kill people? Oh that's right, because ISIS is going to show up in our back yard.

I have no problem with guns for hunting or even target shooting. I do have a problem with rifle ranges who sell alcohol, not a good combination.

The NRA and other gun lobbies own our so called representatives. They even give them report cards! This is the one time in your life that they should be proud to get a failing grade.

If millions of dollars can be spent on yet another Benghazi investigation, can't they form a committee to at least start addressing this problem?
Campesino (Denver, CO)
Interestingly enough, you live in a state that has a very high gun ownership rate and some of the lowest gun crime rates in the country
Gimme Shelter (Fort Collins, CO)
I'm withe President Obama on this one. This next election cycle I'm a single-issue voter -- I'll vote for the candidate who supports prudent measures to reduce gun violence. And I'll work against the candidate with the NRA A+ rating.
Nan Socolow (West Palm Beach, FL)
Disgusting, the political ritual after mass shootings. President Obama was on target with his anger at the NRA and gun-owners (one gun for every 318,000,000 Americans!) after yet another mass killing in Oregon community college this week. If gun control can be sanely legislated in Australia and the UK, and strongly enforced in those countries, why can't our country, Democrats and Republicans, legislate gun laws and put an end to the twice monthly gun carnages that take place with frightening regularity in so many towns and cities in every state? Why won't and can't the NRA and gun-lobbyists realize that guns and easy access to firearms is what is killing our innocents? Republicans, like JEB! Bush ("stuff happens!") have to confront the horrifying reality that their "do-nothing Congress" will continue to do nothing about legislating gun control and the massacres will continue. President Obama with his anger and rage at having to be griever-in-chief stressed that this gun control problem is POLITICAL, and we must not vote for whomever is in favour of continuing easy access to guns in the US.
redleg (Southold, NY)
I am proficient in the use of rifles and pistols, having been on rifle and pistol teams. I m also a deer hunter, and served as an artillery officer in Korea, armed with a .45 1911 Colt automatic and an M-2 carbine, capable of firing semi or full automatic. But I cannot get a pistol permit in my home county. But I am surrounded daily by people who are bound and determined to use an illegally obtained weapon to do harm or otherwise commit a crime, who had no difficulty obtaining their weapon. Gun control doesn't work, except with the good guys.

As for the mentally unstable, because we shuttered insane asylums years ago they now litter the streets and as we now know, kill with abandon. And if it's not a gun, it will be a brick, or a knife, or being pushed in front of an oncoming subway train.

The discussion should not be about gun control. It should be about confining the mentally ill who are a danger to society.
Ken A (Portland, OR)
Perhaps the discussion should be about both gun control AND mental illness. I would like to point out that if we have large numbers of mentally ill people wandering around without adequate treatment and care, it is because conservatives don't believe in funding social services.
Tim McCoy (NYC)
"...analysts found that while the average number of annual shooting sprees with multiple casualties was 6.4 a year from 2000 to 2006, that number jumped to 16.4 a year from 2007 to 2013...."

The large state mental hospitals are mostly all gone. The mentally ill often wander the streets with little more than a bottle of pills, and a pat on the head from the medical profession. The police are usually the first line of, "therapy" should any seriously mentally ill person act out in public.

Today, families sometimes cover for their mentally ill the way previous generations with with some physical deformities might have been cosseted by theirs. Who can blame them? The stigma of mental illness did not go away with the closing of the big hospitals.

The fact remains criminals, don't care about the law and, except in some traditionally democrat controlled cities, they seem to have had their day as useful tools to help expand government power.

The mentally ill, however, are everywhere. It seems like liberal society is well on the way to turning the nation into a large, open air, insane asylum.

Are the seriously mentally ill in Australia as aware that acting out in public is the fastest way to notoriety? They certainly seem to be here.
Aaron (Ladera Ranch, CA)
If the federal government decides to regulate firearms with the same zest and zeal as they do undocumented migrant workers.. then what is the NRA so afraid of?
zachary b (ny, ny)
For all these tragic tales of gun violence and mass shootings, where are all the reports of everyday Americans wielding the 2nd amendment and a firearm, heroically thwarting evil at every turn, as the NRA and their political wags claim as reason to justify their right to (conceal and) carry?

Oh right, there are none...
Campesino (Denver, CO)
Actually, there are lots of them. The CDC addressed this in a report it issued a couple of years ago:

Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year, in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008.

The science is in on this.
Katie (Chapel Hill, NC)
YES. Thank you. There is no sane reason for any private citizen to own an assault weapon or a high-capacity magazine weapon. Those types of guns are not designed for hunting. They're not designed for self-protection. They're designed for war, for killing large numbers of people in quick succession. How is it possible that the Gun Lobby has convinced anyone that these weapons are for anything else?

Also: how is it possible that it is easier to buy a gun in this country than it is to get a license to operate a motor vehicle? At a MINIMUM we should require the same hoops for gun users as for auto users: a test to show that you know what you're doing, verification of identity, a license with a photograph that has to be renewed regularly, proof of insurance etc. Cars can be deadly weapons too of course but they are at least designed for something other than killing people.
Melda Page (Augusta, ME)
The Sheriff in Roseburg has all but said he doesn't intend to enforce any gun control laws. Can't the Oregon governor remove him from office from not performing his job?
Ralph Meyer (Bakerstown, PA)
these political gun lobby and NRA bought politicians should be summarily kicked out the next election, and no one elected who does not run on the promise to pass immediate stringent gun laws to stop the easy access of anyone to guns without a thorough check and requirements into his or her past, their attitudes, and purposes for wanting a gun. Enough is enough, already!!!
Springtime (Boston)
Excellent column! Thank you for speaking up.
We need our legislators to responsible human beings and not machines for gun money. The "silent majority" will have to fight this battle.
Mac Davis (Tampa, FL)
I believe that the reason gun control legislation is so hard for Congress to pass has a root understanding that once the emotions have subsided, there is little that more laws can do to prevent lawless behavior. Punishing criminal acts is necessarily reactive. Were it possible to predict who would run a red light and kill an innocent pedestrian, we still could not, under our present Constitution, prevent them from operating a motor vehicle. It is the same with firearms, with the added obstacle of the 2nd Amendment explicit right to keep and bear arms. It is a cold hard truth that bad things happen to good people.
Campesino (Denver, CO)
Sorry, but you are out of step with American opinion. Only 47% of Americans want stricter gun regulations, while 53% want gun laws relaxed or to stay the same.

There is no pressure on anyone in Congress for gun control as it's not really popular
Jtati (Richmond, Va.)
Your poll is a year old. A Pew poll this week had the numbers 52% for and 47% against:
AM (Boston, MA)
Those numbers are misleading and were when people were asked about gun control in the abstract. But follow-up poll when people were asked about specific policies the numbers change: over 80% support background checks for all gun sales, 63% support assault weapon ban and 59.9 support banning large capacity ammunition magazines.
Matt (SC)
Three cheers for the NRA and their ilk.
John Heenehan (Madison, NJ)
"Stuff happens." Is this really what we've become?
John Heenehan (Madison, NJ)
As a nation, we began with “certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life …” in the Declaration of Independence. That unalienable right should trump the Second Amendment’s conflicted and bloodied “right to bear arms,” forcing it to make at least some reasonable accommodations that deter slaughter … and protect life.

(BTW, where are all the pro-lifers on this one?)
William Case (Texas)
The right to bear arms doesn’t “trump” the right to life because the right to own a gun does not covey the right to murder someone. According to the FBU Uniform Crime report, 1,567 Americans were stabbed to death in 2014. Do you think there a conflict between kitchen knives and the Declaration of Independence? Do you think the American colonists could have defeated the British army without muskets and rifles?
John Heenehan (Madison, NJ)
William, you make a powerful argument. I agree and we should honor these NRA martyrs for giving their lives as the price we are all willing to pay so any nitwit can own a gun.
James B. Huntington (Eldred, New York)
Hand-wringing isn't enough either. The fact is that if someone had shot him earlier in the process, fewer people would have died. And what specific law change would have stopped him from getting a gun?
Jimmy (Greenville, North Carolina)
How is it that all these smart people cannot elect member of Congress who will vote for gun control?

And don't even start on the NRA being that strong. If we passed abortion surely we can pass gun control. And if same-sex marriage is legal surely we can pass gun control.
Bob Herbert (New York)
Look carefully at your own rituals. Two front page articles on the gunman. One article on the hero who tried to save lives. The media in general, and the New York Times in particular, is part of the problem. Please change your masthead to ALL THE NEWS THAT'S FIT TO SELL.
Robert S Lombardo (Mt Kisco N Y)
Gun control and tougher laws may seem logical, without strict enforcement its just window dressing. Illegal drugs and contraband stream in the U. S. everyday , our liberal views on citizens behavior and patients rights has to be reevaluated. The Oklahoma City bombing proved that you can kill innocent men women and children without firing one round of ammunition .
WFGersen (Etna, NH)
If Republicans want to use "the mental health issue" to avoid talking about guns, they need to say how they intend to address that issue. They certainly can't address expanded mental health care by repealing Obamacare! It's more likely that they'll want to expand the NSA's chance to monitor on-line behavior… or issue guns to people who register to vote so that everyone can defend themselves…
J. (San Ramon)
What a farce. 10,000 people died yesterday in the USA. But these 10 deserve special attention. Why? 1300 people died yesterday and everyday from cigarette smoking. If Obama cares about lives why isn't he lobbying for making smoking illegal?

Instead he flies across the country to give an anti gun speech. Does he care about lives or about gun control?
Paz (NJ)
Will the "elites" calling for more unconstitutional restrictions on the individual right to bear arms give up their own armed security? They should.
Tournachonadar (Illiana)
Go back to sleep, America. Those shootings are helping to make your mutual fund's basket of stocks pay dividends, between the elevated health care costs of the big insurers and the uptick in gun sales...and you need to add value to your 401K, after all. Our wonderful Republicans will ensure that you can always play Charlton Heston games in your own home and prepare for the imminent civil disorders just about to erupt around the corner. Don't worry. Those people are as real as the NASA lunar landings were.
RajeevA (Phoenix)
"Stuff happens" was the fatuous comment by Jeb Bush in response to the shooting. Two words that describe the banality of gun violence in America. Why are we in the grip of a mass psychosis? Because inordinate love of guns is a mental illness by itself. The Oregon shooter had thirteen guns including the ones he left at home, all apparently bought legally. And the sovereign remedy for gun violence prescribed by the gun lobby? More guns! Should we just sit at home, wring our hands and cry? There is only one way forward. All sane Americans should come together and vow to kick out all legislators tied to the gun lobby out of the Capitol. Our votes were never more important.
Sgbb7 (Baltimore, MD)
This country is ridiculous. We don't even realize how insane we look to the other industrialized nations of the world. Children slaughtered in their classrooms in an elementary school. "Prayers". People gunned down while watching a movie. "Prayers". People gunned down in cold blood while attending college. "Prayers". Nothing concrete happens and the slaughter continues. The statistics are horrifying. More than 1 million people have been killed by guns since Kennedy was murdered. The real war zone is not Syria or Iraq. It's right here in our own back yard. I am disgusted by the lack of action by our leaders. Disgusted.
Don (Shasta Lake , Calif .)
I support stricter gun control . I do , however take issue with some assertions made in this article . The NYT seems to agree that " fast firing rifles with large magazines flooding the market " is a new phenomena . Not really - - - you could buy a .45 caliber Thompson machine gun with a 50 shot drum magazine ninety years ago. You do not need to buy many weapons to create the type of carnage that took place in Oregon . One fully- automatic assault rifle with plenty of extra magazines will accomplish as much killing as desired .

Aside from better background checks , I really don't know what the solution is . More available free mental health treatment would definitely reduce the number of attackers filled with rage .

Short of remodeling and revamping our whole society into a calmer , more loving one , I do not know what can be done . Even if gun stores were to disappear tomorrow , there are too many millions of guns out there with willing sellers and buyers just as there are in the illegal , hard core drug trade ( heroin , meth , rock cocaine , etc . )
Sage View (California)
If a frustrated, deranged person wants to punish or kill people does not have guns available to carry out their spree, then what? Bombs, poisons, vehicles, etc. that could result in mass damage or killings? The damage and carnage caused by shootings at schools pale in comparison to the Oklahoma City Federal building bomb!

Seems the real problem is thoughtless social engineering that lacks a philosophy, guidelines, visions, outlets, comforting, or hope for the frustrated citizen.

Concerned about inspiring & motivating millions of slaves to work hard while at the same time keeping down the cost of policing those slaves: Egyptian High Priests invented Religions & Saviors as the way to give hope by promising future eternal rewards and salvation from slavery for each citizen that did a good job of policing themselves.
Jerry Farnsworth (camden, ny)
in the wake of this but most recent mass shooting, ask those whom you know who will be rising to the defense of firearms and the broad and inviolable interpretation of the second amendment these questions as non-judgementally as possible. What reasons do they give as to why the US leads by far all developed nations in the incidence of mass shootings and deaths and injury by gun across all categories. Then - presuming they don't refute these facts as false which simply ends the conversation) follow up by asking what they themselves would suggest we work to do together to stem the tide of firearms related tragedy.
Old lawyer (Tifton, GA)
Tell me if I'm wrong but it seems obvious to me that the Second Amendment was designed to provide for an armed militia in a time when citizen soldiers were responsible for national defense. It really was not designed to allow citizens to arm themselves for any purpose other than service in the militia. Now, even though we have standing armies for the purpose of national defense the Supreme Court translates the amendment into a personal right to gun ownership. The interpretation of the amendment by the government of this country makes no sense and has yielded tragic results.
A. Stanton (Dallas, TX)
A well regulated militia, being the best security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

--- The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

If the Framers of the Constitution had wanted fools, criminals and crazy people to have the right to own arsenals of high powered guns without any qualifications whatsover, they would have simply written, "The right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

They did not.
A. Stanton (Dallas, TX)

"... they would have simply written, "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

With no comma inside the sentence. The Framers were fanatics about punctuation.
Indigo (Atlanta, GA)
As long as we have the best Congress money can buy, these shooting will continue into the foreseeable future.
Only in America.
Mark Thomason (Clawson, Mich)
Republicans say that these mass shootings are mental health issues, not gun control issues.

Then they don't do anything about mental health issues either.

In fact, they try to eliminate all health care for many, including of course mental health care.

They also prevent detailed study of gun violence. They are clearly afraid of the answers, so they prevent the questions being asked. Sickly, that has been working for them.

We need those studies. I think we'd find that it is not as simple as a one size fits all answer, but we'd actually find answers that could work.

I actually agree with Republicans that these specific mass shooting incidents are mental health issues. That means it has gone on a long time while nobody does anything to help the shooter or save the eventual victims. It just runs its course. And the Republicans do NOTHING about the mental health issues.

I agree with Republicans that for the mental health driven gun incidents, the guns are far less the problem than the mental health. That is because someone that sick will find a way to kill. If he can't get a gun, he'll use a bomb, or he'll drive into a crowd. The largest mass killing of students in a school in American history happened in Michigan, and used a bomb, no guns at all.

So why do we do nothing about the mental health? For the same reasons we get 50 attempts to repeal health care, and attempts to cut Medicare and Medicaid.

So Republicans are responsible for this, but not because of gun control.
Mark Shyres (Laguna Beach, CA)
How is the Republican reaction any different that Obama's? Both are just the same rhetoric over and over.
dEs JoHnson (Forest Hills)
There are various manifestations of hypocrisy surrounding these cases. I witnessed Bill O'Reilly recently play the old tune: Illinois has strict gun laws, but Chicago is a slaughter house. This is a tune that avoids the culpability of gun dealers (and the Congress that enables then) in the heart of God's own bible-belt, where guns flow freely at shows. For example, bags of guns avoided safety checks at Atlanta airport and, thanks to a baggage handler, were flown to NYC. What are we to do? Pay exorbitant taxes to close "our border" and inspect every plane, van, car, etc. coming in? Way to promote freedom, NRA!
James (Houston)
SO what are these magic "gun safety" laws that Obama proposes? I heard not a single idea or suggestion, just a political rant against Conservatives and the NRA. The answer is clear: THERE ARE NONE that would have prevented this anti-Christian lunatic from killing. Legally obtained guns used by a previously undiagnosed lunatic is not prevented by any law. Chicago has extremely strict gun laws yet 45 people were shot LAST WEEKEND. So what are these proposed magic laws? The answer is : THERE ARE NONE!! it was nothing but a political rant which I dismissed as more Obama professorial theories. With the economic news disastrous, the Middle East in crisis, Iran working on the bomb, and Putin assuming command as a world leader, Obama needed something to say to distract the nation from his ubiquitous failures. Of course, the NYT plays along, in this article complaining about high volume magazines, meanwhile, you have no idea if this played any part in these murders or in the 45 shootings in Chicago ( most likely it was not a factor in either). I like the Sheriff who refuses to state the name of the killer, because fame seems to be the motivator for these killers. Not naming the killer in any event and stop sensationalizing the event will probably do more to prevent a recurrence than anything else.
Robyn (CT)
When the families of the victims receive the condolence call from their anti- gun control congressperson they should tell him/her that it borders on the obscene.
Melda Page (Augusta, ME)
Jeb Bush, with his 'stuff happens' remark, shows that he follows in line with at least four male Bushes who have no morals, no conscience. We don't need another evil politician in the White House!
Gun Owner (Canada)
Nothing will stop the shootings entirely. All we can hope for is a reduction over time. Every long journey begins with the first step. Why not start with a national sales tax on guns and ammo? Then take the proceeds of such a tax to fund a government buy-back program to reduce guns in circulation. Every little bit helps. If even the cheapest gun cost at least as much as an iPhone, fewer people would buy guns on impulse. It just seems logical to take steps to reduce the number of guns laying around waiting to fall into the wrong hands.
penna095 (pennsylvania)
"Let me be very clear: I will not name the shooter. I will not give him credit for this horrific act of cowardice." ~ Sheriff John Hanlin

Actually, Chris Harper Mercer was not seeking Sheriff Harper's "credit," he was shooting a lot of people to death.
New Haven CT (New Haven)
Why don't Republicans let the market decide. Anyone should be allowed to have a gun but they need to be insured annually and the penalties for not having insurance should be severe. There are real dollar costs (in addition to the tragedy of lost lives) that should be covered by the gun cheerleaders.
It is not only the politicians and the researchers the NRA and gun lobby are determined to silence. The anti-life NRA "enforcers" appear to have gotten through to mainstream media as well. Thursday night, my husband and I watched ABC evening news with David Muir. Of course the big news of the day was the Oregon shooting, but when Muir mentioned the president's speech, he never mentioned that President Obama called for gun safety legislation.

Friday morning on NPR's "Morning Edition," NPR more accurately described how angry the president was about yet-another mass shooting, his frustration over those blocking gun safety, and the need to enact gun legislation to protect us.

Also, see the C-Span interview with historian Joseph Ellis about his book, "The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution, 1783-1789." There is a section where Ellis talks about the Second Amendment--why it was written, what it means, and how it is being intentionally misinterpreted in the 21st century.

Thank you NY Times for this editorial and your information on gun violence and strong stand on the need for gun safety legislation.
jlcurtis_1019 (New York City)
This never ending continuance of murder of one on many is leaving me with only one conclusion. This country is nuts, it's insane. And leaving aside the obvious I will give but one reason as to why. More or less the entire country is up in arms over VW and the lying they did with their diesel cars. Or GM with its ignition snafu. Yet here in the face of the obvious our political class is oblivious and cowed by a minority group who's only real intent is to secure the continuing sell of their products. This under the illusion of 2nd Amendment rights. Products with only one function; to kill. It beggars the imagination that any nation, any country, any political system, could be so crass, so insane, in the face of this murderous era we live within, as to deny there is need to control such products as this.

American Net'Zen
hankfromthebank (florida)
So the same government that can not stop illegal immigration and illegal drug sales is going to stop illegal guns from getting in the hands of those who want to break the law?
Robert Rosasco (Pensacola Fl)
Remember the neon signs showing the growth of our national debt, let's have the same signs tracking deaths attributed to guns, accidental or by the mentally ill.
Tom Degan (Goshen, NY)
When of the news of this latest mass-shooting came over the airwaves, so help me I barely batted an eye:

"Oh", I thought, "So it's happened again, huh? Ho hum".

Cynical? You be the judge. The fact of the matter is that I long ago adjusted to the reality of living in a nation in ruins. You ought to, too. It makes the coping a helluva lot easier, let me tell you.

Rivers of blood. Broken bodies. Broken hearts. This is the new reality. Come to think about it, this reality is not very "new" in the least. In fact, it is now as common as a full moon in the morning sky. It almost amazes me that most of us still are stunned when an event of this magnitude occurs.

Mass murders will continue in America, and with more and more deadly frequency. Don't bother bracing yourselves for the next time this happens. Why live in a constant state of fear and anticipation? Just accept it as an inescapable reality in this doomed country and get on with your lives. When it happens again in four or five months (and it will happen again in that time-frame - if not sooner) come to terms with the thought that these regularly scheduled, nasty little sideshows are simply the price we must pay for - ARE YOU READY FOR THIS? - "our freedom". Ain't that a scream?

Was this a great country or what???

Tom Degan
sandyg (austin, texas)
You don't suppose the legislators don't have anything but platitudes to say, following a mass-shooting because they are well paid by the gun-makers not to, do you? Our political system is a model of corruption exacerbated by 'Citizens United'.
AusTex (Texas)
I was thinking last night that if the folks who drink liquor to excess had the same sense of entitlement as gun owners they never could have passed DWI/DUI laws. Why is it about a gun owners right to easy access and ownership and not the public at large's right to feel and be safe?
frederik c. lausten (verona nj)
There are two hard cold things that cannot be pried out of the hearts of Republicans; the power of the NRA and their constituent's worship of the 2nd amendment.
Lilo (Michigan)
Fortunately there aren't the votes to repeal the 2nd Amendment or pass any federal gun restriction legislation. If you don't like guns, don't buy one.
Steve C (Bowie, MD)
As long as there are no laws to help stop this tragic killing, condolences are the best response we'll get and we all know how much good they are. I wonder what the response would be if a gunman were to get loose in Congress. Would that encourage some laws?

What will it take to get the government to step in in a meaningful way?
Robert Demko (Crestone Colorado)
Would the Congress allow guns into their halls? How about doing away with gun screening at airports? There is an awareness on the part of almost everyone that guns must be controlled and yet the NRA uses specious arguments such as guns don't kill, people do, what rot,against the most obvious and moderate controls. Well, let's stop the hypocrisy and allow anyone at any time to have their guns. The first mass shooting in Congress may get the legislature's attention and prod them into action rather than just issueing platitudes for the slain.
caveman007 (Grants Pass, OR)
Greg Walden, Carl Wilson, Herman Baertshiger, Sal Esquivel, Cedric Hayden, Dallas Heard, Wayne Krieger, Duane Stark, and Jeff Kruse. Recent victims of a mass shooting in Roseburg, Oregon? No! These are tax-cut happy southern Oregon Republicans who have gutted our local law enforcement. You need an arsenal now to protect yourself.

"Stuff happens."
Jan (<br/>)
It seems our "culture" has moved to one of hate. Hate for the President, hate for Muslims, hate for gays, hate for anyone who doesn't agree with us 100%. That hate is spewed 24/7 on talk radio and cable "news". Is it any wonder that this hate permeates? Add in guns, mental health, and the unwillingness of our Congress to make life better for the nation as a whole, and we get what we have-people trying to solve their problems the only way they know. Hate and guns.
Left of the Dial (USA)
Write your Representative. Tell them you won't vote for them until they get serious about solving this problem. I did and I won't.
RK (Long Island, NY)
"Our thoughts and prayers..." is the typical refrain that gutless politicians bought and paid for by the gun lobby utter after every massacre. Tone-deaf Jeb Bush took it to another level and said, "Look stuff happens...."

Should "stuff" be happening with increasing regularity without any action to prevent such "stuff" from happening? Bush's full answer about the latest massacre was more telling. "Look stuff happens, there’s always a crisis and the impulse is always to do something and it’s not always the right thing to do." Jindal, when asked about stricter gun control after the Lafayette shootings, said, "Now is not the right time. Let us mourn. You can ask me all you want in a couple of days."

Contrast such typical nonsensical responses and non-responses from the right wing U.S. politicians with the actions of the political leaders of Australia who acted decisively after a massacre in 1996. Just 12 days later after the tragedy, state and federal leaders passed new legislation to restrict and prohibit the sale and ownership of almost every kind of semi-automatic rifle and rapid-fire guns.

The impulse to do something about gun violence by Australian politicians, and that too in a few days, *was* the right thing to do at the right time.

It is long past time for the public to ask the likes of Jindal and Jeb Bush: "What is the right thing to do?" and "When is the right time?"
Michael Boyajian (Fishkill)
And Hillary Clinton is the only presidential candidate to speak out forcefully for gun control.
Huckabee on CNN today just had nothing to say.
A. M. Payne (Chicago)
Dostoevsky: “We decry war while we quaff blood like champagne.” In other words: We say one thing but do another.

No matter this editorial, candlelight vigils, or any candidate's "thoughts and prayers," not for one second, do I believe Americans are shocked, repulsed, or devastated by news of mass murder.

When it comes to bloodshed, whether entertainment or reality, Americans are vampiric; indeed, violence, death, and bloodshed are like a welcome menstrual cocktail. We like death. We like violence. They titillate us. Label it religio-sexual.

Just as, "another mental health problem,” doesn’t address the issue,“ "easy access to powerful arsenals,” doesn’t either. We are trapped within ourselves: There exists a gun for every man, woman, and child in the country!

No legislation can solve or diminish the moth within US. I’m not a historian, but I can think of no society that ever changed its fundamental character, its defining ethos. Women are a bellwether. When they didn't throw themselves on the rocks after Sandy Hook, I knew the canary was dead, that Jesus is a hitchhiker in another galaxy.
Kevin (New York, NY)
My biggest reaction is, there's no point even going through the usual gun debate charade that happens every time one of these occurs. Obama knows I'm opposed to guns, almost everyone I know is opposed to them. Doesn't matter. This country is going to be unable to make any kind of substantive progress on anything as long as half our politicians represent a constituency that's opposed to any kind of progress and keeps trying to bring us back to some sort of fake idealized society as it was when the founding father ran everything. At best we get half measures like Obamacare and a hodgepodge of limited gun control laws, or Hillary's new college plan (which is basically a shadow plan designed to let everyone read what they want - "It won't cost that much! But your college will be free!").

It's time us liberals got more extreme as well. Bernie Sanders 2016.
norman (Daly City, CA)
Firearms are easy to acquire because they are small, inexpensive and easily concealed. Since there are probably close to 400 million guns in the US, even if highly restrictive legislation could limit the chances of one firearm being used to commit a mass murder to 1 in 100,000,000 on an annual basis, we could expect 3-5 of these tragedies per year. So, politicians like Obama should stop being hypocrites and advocate repeal of the second amendment or support responsible gun use education and more comprehensive mental health services including involuntary hospitalization.
entity.z (earth)
Also a ritual after mass shootings and other acts of gun violence (except, conspicuously, cops using guns on innocent people) is the volume of words and that seek to explain and to solve the problem of gun violence.

None of it expresses the simple logic that to end gun violence, we must end guns. Politicians must regulate gun manufacture, sales, gun ownership and gun use to extinction, while avoiding unconstitutional rules. Americans must disarm.

There is no middle ground here. In fact, we are already living with the best attempts to simultaneously accommodate gun owners and reduce gun violence. Obviously it is not working, and it won't as long as gun ownership is condoned in the law and in the culture.

So the ritual continues. We can confidently expect another cycle of mayhem and words in the not too distant future.
Bob F. (Charleston, SC)
Again - The killer is described as having Asperger's or of being somewhere on the Autistic spectrum. Has this diagnosis become a catch basin for all mentally disturbed individuals? Is it possible that "Autism Spectrum" is a convenient category for any socially inept individual who either resists, or can't afford further diagnosis?
Talking about easy access to guns through legal means is just posturing No one talks about how we deal with the millions of illegal guns, whether held for protection or used for criminal purposes, outside of government regulation.
There is no real gun control until we have a very uncomfortable conversation about how to get illegal guns off the streets.
John Q (N.Y., N.Y.)
All civilian gun purchasers should be requite to sign this statement:

Cross my heart and hope to die, when I get around to it I will remove the firing pins from the semiautomatic rifles mounted on my living room wall, put the loaded rapid-fire pistols my wife and I now keep under our pillows in a dresser drawer, and hide all my other state-of-the-art military weaponry in the basement.

Problem solved.
Carolyn (Saint Augustine, Florida)
The culture of violence that is infecting - not just the United States - but the world is a culture being promulgated by unconscionable businesses dedicated to selling violence as a solution and fanatical "leaders" reacting to a loss of purpose in life by offering salvation through the creation of a common enemy. Regardless, arms control/gun control will not solve the problem. If the Editorial Board wants to address violence, address the culture of violence that the media is profiting handsomely by, particularly through violent games that give young, disenfranchised youth an easy answer to those they resent or envy or are afraid of: "just kill them."

Mass shootings are happening all over the world. For example, [n 2011 in Norway - a bastion of peace - a gunman killed 77 youths, and there are plenty more incidents. Europe envy with regard to gun control is predicated on a myth. And U.S. gun control would only establish a black market and crime cartels on par with what we see in the drug cartels in Mexico today.

What we can do is deglamorize killing, and that starts with a government campaign and pressure brought to bear on businesses that profit by nurturing violence, particularly those manufacturing computer games. Tax them the way we do cigarettes. We also must stop rewarding excessive violence in movies and television through a counter campaign of peace and by promoting the building of bonds through peaceful resolutions. We must glamorize kindness not bloodshed.
Michael Boyajian (Fishkill)
Hillary Clinton is the only major presidential candidate to speak out forcefully in favor of comprehensive gun control.
JH (San Francisco)
This is a National Security problem.
James (Toronto)
Thoughts and prayers. Thoughts and prayers (and more guns), as the United States slips further in its slow decline toward being a failed state, unable and uninterested in providing safe, healthy lives for its people. It will require another hundred years, but Republicans, owned by the gun lobby and with their deregulation, their ideological beliefs, State's rights, no-tax obsessions, etc. are moving that decline along quite well.
Bayou Houma (Houma, Louisiana)
Our conceptual understanding of gun rampages needs to change. Most people understand that someone arrested for a drunk driving accident is at fault, not the person's access to alcohol or to an automobile. We therefore need to make a conceptual breakthrough about gun safety based on the DUI analogy. It's people who misuse guns, not guns that misuse people involved in mass shootings. We need to see that one-size federal gun restrictions are the wrong legal instruments to solve our gun woes. We do not know the individuals who act beserk with guns, for instance, until they have shot many people. But usually their neighbors or classmates have noticed that such shooters have exhibited hostile threatening behavior earlier than the shootings. So local communities need to improve their awareness to initiate preemptive intervention when someone begins to show signs of potential homicidal violence, such as threatening expressions at strangers for no reason, while owning a gun arsenal or carrying one in public places where guns are prohibited. Let us focus on restricting dangerous people with guns, not trying to nullify our right of legitimate self-defense with our guns. When someone like a policeman or store owner defends her or his life or property with a gun, we hail them as heroes. So guns are not the problem; it's guns in the hands of the wrong people. Local communities, not NICS, seem to know who those people are who often pass background checks.
Bonnie (MA)
Our society is filled with violent media, films, TV shows, and video games. We glorify violence. Warriors are depicted as manly and attractive. In a modern society this is foolish, and frankly, irrelevant. The signals are strong, however, and coupled with xenophobia and paranoia caused by the many crime shows on TV, have created a society that thinks it needs to carry weapons. The more we live and work closely to each other, the more we need to work on our skills of cooperation and compromise, and those who do that should be seen as our heroes. The rest of the civilized world sees us as uncivilized.
Barrett Thiele (Red Bank, NJ)
The solution is simple. Vote Republican if you're happy with the status quo. Vote Democratic for long overdue national gun safety legislation. Or move to Sweden.
Sequel (Boston)
The political ritual unhappily will have no effect upon the distribution of policy preferences among citizens.

Fear that one's guns will be "taken away" remains far greater than fear that one will be a helpless victim of gun violence.

The 2d Amendment permits any meaning one wants to find in it, while the 14th Amendment, and reams of case law, have ensured that that bastion of meaninglessness will remain strong. The only discernible original intent in 2A was to permit the formation of a Union -- something that would have been impossible had any state had been fearful of losing its ability to retain its guns due to action by any of the other 12 mini-republics, or the proposed new federal union.
Edmund (New York, NY)
Let's be long as there is money to be made, by the manufacturers who sell these high powered weapons and the magazines of bullets to fill them, and money into the pockets of our oh-so-caring Congress, nothing will ever be done to stop this. The gun lobby won, now and forever.
jch (NY)
You buried something in the piece - that the killers are "attracted to the attention" they would get. So along with politicians, the press may have a role to play. I know it's news, but if nothing is going to change - and after Newtown it's clear nothing is, at least while our nation is even vaguely recognizable to the one we have today - then I think we need to ignore them. Treat these events the way you would treat a fatal traffic accident. These accidents, horrific and violent and often preventable as they are, are largely unreported, at least in the national press. And yet, car companies could cap the vehicle's acceleration at 70 mph (or less) and that would save lives. Why create all these safety features on one hand, but allow the cars to go insane speeds that no one is legally allowed to go? But change in that direction is not going to happen either.

After any of these shootings, I, like so many others, just want to see something done, anything, so I don't have to spend so much energy repressing the fact that we live in an upside down country.

And don't mistake me, I want strong, even draconian gun laws, they should be next door to impossible to get, but short of these laws, the study you cite offers a glimmer of hope for change. Could you and your colleagues across the nation forgo your own business interests - as you are asking of other companies - to save lives?
John (US Virgin Islands)
So what legislation will meaningfully reduce violence? It seems to me that to keep firearms out of the hands of the insane and unstable, and evil, we will have to reduce the availability of firearms dramatically for all to near UK levels (basically limit private ownership to target and hunting rifles/shotguns, and mandate secure storage of arms and ammunition separately, possibly under third party control). That is simply not going to happen. Obama's talk about limiting clip sizes, or banning machine guns is lovely political theatre, but it is just that - not meaningful.

How about doing for domestic violent crazy people what we are doing for terrorists? Monitor chat board and forums, set police and others up to look for signs of danger, and then head it off with proactive interventions? If as Obama says, and the Republicans say, the issue is crazy people with access to guns, why not focus on the "crazy people" part of the equation? I understand the desire to protect the civil rights of the crazy people, but the non-crazy people have civil rights, too.
dEs JoHnson (Forest Hills)
Guns don't kill people. People with guns kill people.
Sara G. (New York, NY)
Tired of gun violence? Take action:
-Write your congresspeople
-Write the NRA
-Tell Target and Visa that guns are not toys, and they shouldn't be allowing them in stores or funding the NRA with affiliate card programs.
-Moms Demand Action
-Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
-The Campaign to Unload
-The National Gun Victims Action Council has challenged Hallmark, a company that not only allows guns in its stores, but also once promised the arms lobby that they love guns and rejected an open letter from NGVAC and the Newtown Victims & Clergy for Corporate Responsibility (NVCCR) to change their policy. So the same groups have challenged us to boycott Hallmark for Father’s Day. If you choose to buy your cards at The National Gun Victims Action Council’s website, instead of at Hallmark, the money you spend will help victims of gun violence.
-Give money to candidates promising to support reasonable restrictions, and groups such as Everytown for Gun Safety and Americans for Responsible Solutions (Gabby Giffords’ group) so they can take on those who have blocked commonsense solutions to gun violence and help get us a Congress (and state legislatures) that will act in the interests of the public rather than the gun lobby.
Michael (Morris Township, NJ)
So, give me your answer; make a proposal that actually has something to do with the asserted problem. Not one of the proposals after Sandy Hook would have had the slightest effect; none would have saved a single life. It's highly unlikely that any of the proposals you'd make now would be even remotely related to the actual facts, because you don't actually care; you've got an agenda, and if a tragedy helps you get it through, you're not above using it for crass political purposes.

The FACTS are that guns were once a lot easier to get and carry. They have not become particularly more lethal. Nor is the presence of fraudulently named "assault weapons" unique to America.

So, what's changed between (say) 1960 and today?

You offer no answers. You don't even get the question right.
Campesino (Denver, CO)
And the FACTS are that gun violence is declining in this country and has been for over 20 years. The rate is half of what it was in 1993.
Why do we focus on the offender when the disaster is terrorism but on the gun when it is a mass shooting? Gun control may or may not be a good idea but to get to the root cause we need to look at why we have a culture/subculture of violence.
Tired of Complacency (Missouri)
From the NRA point of view, along with the very vocal and bullying minority those killed my guns (~150,000 homicides since 9/11) are merely collateral damage for our supposed God-given right to bear arms.

If Congress has the gall to bring in the head of Planned Parenthood for some mock inquisition, then they should bring in LaPierre and his gang of thugs as well. The 2A wasn't even a political topic until the NRA chose to make it so in their maniacal quest.

Now after well over 20 years of marketing that guns are good and everyone needs to have one, protecting themselves from the boogeyman (or those people), we have the regular carnage of mass shootings by deranged people (that have not been clinically diagnosed).

LaPierre... the blood of these mass shootings is on your hands. Live with that.
DAN BLAINE (Pisgah Forest, North Carolina)
NRA members? I would like to see the perentage of mass shooters who are or have been NRA members. It seems to me that most gun afficianados must have learned the characteristics of their weapons SOMEWHERE!
Larry Lundgren (Linköping, Sweden)
Yes Donald Trump, the topic of gun massacres is a mental health problem, and the location of that mental health problem is somewhere in your brain and those of others like you, notably Jeb Bush who sees massacres as "just stuff".

So surprising coming from you, that phrase "It's so hard to even talk about these things.."

I will not lower myself to list the subjects about which you have no trouble talking but close by stating that any presidential candidate who is a Cygnus olor - Mute Swan - on this subject should just retire from the contest to count his or her billions.

I look forward to the Times giving space to people who I believe can talk about this and suggest Biden, Clinton, Sanders, and Warren (alphabetical order).
Dual citizen-USA-SE
Reference to the mute swan from a fine reply to a comment by me at
MNW (Connecticut)
All the current candidates seeking the Presidency must be asked a simple question at all of the upcoming debates.
Will you promote the repeal of the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution?
If not, then why not?

In fact, all candidates for election to the Congress should also be asked the same question.
We have to start somewhere .......... and soon.
Jimmy (Greenville, North Carolina)
Hillary Clinton can seize the high ground with a call for strict gun control laws!
Campesino (Denver, CO)
Republicans certainly hope she does
carlson74 (Massachyussetts)
Send the IRS a letter telling to take the tax exempt status away from the National Rifle Association.
William Teach (Raleigh, NC)
So, what policies does the NY Times Editorial Board suggest?

"Fast firing rifles"? They really fire no faster than ones from WWI. One pull of the trigger, one shot. Automatic weapons are illegal.

"Large-capacity magazines"? If there's no one to stop a shooter, it doesn't matter if the mag is 7 or 15. It takes seconds to reload.

Easy access? The majority of weapons are purchased at a federally licensed firearms dealer.

Please, tell us what would stop any of these tragedies? Please tell us what will stop the constant shootings and murders in cities like Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Newark, Camden, St. Louis, etc, which already have massive gun control laws.
Charles Hortenise (Greenwich, CT)
If the President wishes to repeal the Second Amendment, the authors of the Constitution provided two processes for doing so. Why doesn't the President and the Democract leadership have the courage of their convictions to act accordingly?
Campesino (Denver, CO)
I've been wondering about that for years
billd (Colorado Springs)
Fact: The NRA owns Congress.

If you hate guns, emigrate to New Zealand or Japan.
Old lawyer (Tifton, GA)
Jeb Bush voiced a typical Republican response to the latest gun tragedy. "Stuff happens", said the Jebster. Personally, if the NRA supports a candidate, I vote for somebody else. That's about all I can do in this dysfunctional country. Maybe I should say in this country with a dysfunctional government.
Cynthia Kegel (planet earth)
In a culture that worships guns, what can we expect? More control than just checking backgrounds is necessary. Concealed carry laws must be overturned, and an outright ban on guns in as many areas as possible must be enacted.
Madeline (Florida)
Republicans need to look in the mirror and face their own mental illness; their denial that they are supporting the murder of citizens by supporting a 'hit man' like the NRA. They have made the NRA a pseudo cabinet in their governing.
TAPAS BHATTACHARYA (south florida)
I sure like to know which higher authority these politicians, who oppose any gun legislation, pray to. It seems when almost the entire country is mourning and then worrying where the next shooter is about to appear, these politicians are quite nonchalant . They must be praying to a different God than we do because whoever that God or the anti-Christ they pray to, is definitely protecting them and their near and dear ones. Believe me, if God forbid anything happens to them or their family members,they'll support the common sense gun control legislation immediately,and join the parents of gun violence victims who have formed their own gun control clubs although many of them own guns and are members of N.R.A. themselves. But I personally believe gun control legislation is not the answer to the mass shootings in Oregon or other places. We spend billions of dollar in eliminating the rockets being shot by our enemies ,why can't we invest all our energy in eliminating the threats posed by these individuals before they even pull the trigger . Science is very well advanced now. We can see from here if Mars has any water or not, why can't we just call these shooters national enemies as they're killing only American citizens. And eliminate them before they start mass shootings. Our satellites can find when someone is loading up his cars with 6 or more guns like this guy did in Oregon . And we're stopping the terrorists in middle east with pinpoint accuracy. Why not here ?...tkb
Christine McMorrow (Waltham, MA, 02452)
"Mass shootings have become an unsurprising part of American life, with lame public rituals in which politicians express grief and then retreat quickly into denial about this scourge."

Excellent editorial, but a truly sad one. This country is waging war internally and externally, as the rise of angry young men aiming for attention use massacres as a way to get it. Just like teen suicide is contagious, so are mass shootings--and the fact that no Republican has the courage to say out loud what Americans can plainly see is becoming un-American.

I don't know what it will take to get the right to thumb their nose at NRA blood money. Some horrific event in their home district? Some horrific event in the halls of Congress (I actually read that suggestion from a poster here)? Something that touches them personally in a stronger way than the lure of NRA money?

I don't know, but I don know that when you have so many people writing here that it's time to leave the country, the country has left us, the people of the United States who can't even feel secure inside our own borders.
slimowri2 (milford, new jersey)
John List killed his mother, wife, three children in Westfield in November,1971.
He was at large for almost 18 years. Murders like this arise in every generation,
and gun laws will not prevent these tragedies. A very subtle occurrence took place
in the Oregon case, when the Sheriff John Harlan, refused to mention the
killer's name. Fox News, MSNBC, and the rest of the TV media also declined
to mention the killer's name, Christopher Harper-Mercer. A bad precedent.for
the media to follow.
craig80st (Columbus,Ohio)
Long time ago, in college, I took a course in US Social and Intellectual History. One of the operating terms we used to understand how society and ideas change was "climate of opinion". It helped explain why, for instance, President Andrew Jackson could get re-elected even though he did not renew the charter of The Second National Bank of the United States. With regards to the Gun Lobby, the way to challenge and diminish its influence is by changing the climate of opinion. Framing arguments about guns and their availability like the ones used during the Civil Rights challenge to Jim Crow Laws; "Are you part of the problem, or part of the solution?" Right now, Gun manufacturers and distributors, NRA, Gun Lobby, and Republicans are part of the problem. Republican profess to be Right to Lifers, that only applies to fetal life. They do not show the same concern for children and adults who are gun shot victims in public places; i.e. street corners, schools, and movie theaters.
Honest Anthony (Manteca, Ca)
Gun manufacturers and NRA are part of the problem? Maybe, be careful. If you destroy business, force people to change their way of life that they love, and it does not stop the violence...are you now part of a new problem? Do you owe reparations? You do care about people, right?
Lorraine herman (New york)
It is becoming clear that family members close to many of the shooters were aware of emotional and mental instability and yet actively supported gun ownership. Shouldn't these individuals be held accountable.
clairek (Philadelphia)
When do we start organizing the March on Washington to repeal the 2nd amendment?
dEs JoHnson (Forest Hills)
When you are a trillionaire!
Publicola (Philadelphia)
to the editorial board and interested individuals

1) I assume every gun manufactured in the united states
has a serial number.
2) I assume that when guns are registered they have in addition
to the name and address of person purchasing the gun it also has a serial number
3) this shooter had guns legally so his name and address would show multiple guns in his name
4) the reports are he also had gins in his possession belong to other family

a) how hard is it to pass a law prohititing a gun ownr to give a gun to another
b) how hard is it to create a master lsit of all guns legally obtained with the name and address of those who hae multiples ( this guy had total of 13)
c) how hard is it to regulate the number of guns a person may own?
there might be exceptions but 99% of americans ony need one gun if they want one

how ared is ti for the NYT to start thinking out of the box
klpawl (New Hampshire)
Shouldn't we also be discussing why so many people in America apparently live in such fear that they justify owning a gun?
Lee Harrison (Albany)
The reality is that the vast fraction of these mass murders have been committed by young men who are being rejected by society.

Humans are mammals. Look at lions or horses or chimpanzees ... Males are in undesirable surplus, the losers are exiled if not killed.

The other mammals don't arm their losers with semi-auto handguns.
R.deforest (Nowthen, Minn.)
Sometimes the sanest reaction to an insane Insanity.
Andrew Barnaby (Burlington, VT)
Because these shootings are now so commonplace, any new shooting isn't really news. Nothing comes from solemn reporters offering details of the latest tragedy because we've heard it all before. What should be reported is what the President is suggesting, statistical evidence of just how out of control our gun control is or investigative reports on the lobbying efforts that make these shootings inevitable. That's the story here. And news agency are complicit with the gun lobby until they starting telling it.
Petronius (Miami, FL)
Perhaps it is merely a temporary aberration, after all, what's the importance of only nine lives when we have progressed to billions, starving, being massacred, drowning in attempted escapes from violence?
Gee, only nine lives, much like cats.
Think it's time to check our empathy? YOU BETCHA!!!
Larry Gr (Mt. Laurel NJ)
Another gun free zone, another mass shooting. Even lunatics know to persue the path of least resistence. And the beat goes on.
Clairette Rose (San Francisco)
@Larry Gr

The Oregon shooting didn't take place in a gun
free zone. Public colleges in Oregon are forbidden by statute from banning guns.

Having coughed up that particular stale NRA meme, why not proceed to the next inanity, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people" ? Or the correllary, "It takes a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun"?

All these statements fly in the face of actual fact.

The beat will definitely go on until Americans
summon up the courage to do what other advanced nations have done to regulate the use of firearms.
Bos (Boston)
Mrs Clinton is right. Unless you crash NRA, the stalemate continues. The fear that government is going to take your liberty is the equivalence of Communism is going to infiltrate the U.S. back in the 50s. There were brave men and women standing up to Joe McCarthy and his red scare gang then, how can America be so regressive after 60 years?
John (Hartford)
Access is the issue not mental health which is a distraction. There about 6 million people in this country with serious mental health problems. In case you think this is an exaggeration remember there are 50 million people taking mind altering drugs. Then there are about 325 million guns in circulation that can be obtained as easily as candy. Thus it's a statistical certainty that regular mass shootings are going to happen. This is not emotion it's math. The gun crowd don't spend much time doing probability distributions but every other advanced society does. They recognize that finding the crazies before the act is impossible so the solution is to block their access to devices whose sole purpose is to kill people. The Oregon shooter was crazy but obtained his guns legally. Occam's razor. Unfortunately, the Republican party has made a political choice to allow these massacres to continue. And they will.
norman pollack (east lansing mi)
"The contrast could not be greater [between the Republicans and Obama]." Wrong! Obama in his first two years in office had a Democratic-controlled Congress AND DID NOTHING. His current response is lame, self-serving, and , above all, hypocritical. He deplores gun violence at home; he is the sponsor of drone assassinations abroad. A double-standard, one the indirectly legitimates wanton killing in America by the example it provides? You betcha.

In the Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syrian interventions alone, the Bush-Obama juggernaut is responsible for hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths. Both presidents have blood on their hands. And it gets worse. Beyond drone assassinations and interventions we see currently covert action and regime change as standard procedure. Special Forces, CIA, wonderful examples to seet before our citizenry!

When America stops seeking and implementing unilateral global dominance, then perhaps we will see an end to mass killings at home.
Jane (Alexandria, VA)
We can control the ammunition without having to control the guns. Let the collectors keep what arms they have. They do, after all, have a constitutional right to bear arms, and let's face it, changing that document to alter that clause is extremely unlikely. As far as I can tell however, no such unfettered right is guaranteed in the Constitution protecting the ownership of ammunition needed to operate those arms.

Levy a tax, $100 per bullet, track all purchases and id each and every bullet with a serial number.

It'll be real tough then to create and maintain an arsenal. Think of all the lives that would be saved, both from horrible mass shootings like these, from the yahoos shooting up junk in our BLM and national forest lands and accidentally hitting other people, and the criminals in the street.
Sara G. (New York, NY)
The "mental health" spin is a vile distraction to ensure the continued increase of gun marketing and sales. Even if true - that mentally ill people proportionally commit most of these mass shootings - how on earth does a society ensure that guns stay out of the hands of mentally ill people? A central registration? How would that self reporting? Therapists reporting them? Ludicrous, of course, yet gun violence enablers persist in this distraction in the face of a growing major public health crisis.

We must restrict and limit gun ownership by making it difficult for ANYONE to obtain guns via strict licensing, fees, registration, etc.
Charles (Holden MA)
A firearm, whether legally purchased or not, is a tragedy waiting to happen. It can be stolen, sold, or found by a child. The point couldn't be more obvious if it was an elephant in the Republican chambers. A gun is a machine dedicated to killing as quickly and efficiently as possible. The only people who should have guns are the police and the military. The "sport" of shooting an innocent animal needs to go. Rent a video game, go to the gym, have paintball fights with your friends. Nobody needs to have a deadly hobby.
Frequent Flyer (USA)
By their inaction, the opponents of further gun control have determined that these mass shootings (and everyday gun crimes) are the price we must pay for second amendment freedom. But must the price be so high? I would like to hear some proposals from gun advocates about how this price can be lowered.
Martha Shelley (Portland, OR)
I agree with Shar in Atlanta. If guns can be carried, either openly or concealed, in schools, churches, shopping malls, movie theaters, etc., then we should allow them in the halls of Congress, in state houses, and in the Supreme Court. No more metal detectors to protect the politicians and so-called justices who expose the rest of us to every lunatic, every adolescent gang member, and every angry guy who thinks women, blacks, Muslims, etc. are taking his rights away. Let the politicians and judges live in the same world we do, and watch them rush to pass gun control laws.
Linda Fitzjarrell (St. Croix Falls WI)
Several years ago we cleaned out the house of a relative of a friend after his death. The man was retired, never married, and his house was so cluttered he could not get into his kitchen or sleep in any of his three beds. There were over sixty guns in the house and thousands of rounds of ammunition. The family decided to donate the ammunition to the local police department. I asked one of the officers if the situation was unusual and he shook his head and said not really.
Green (Vancouver, BC)
I am not sure how Republicans can stand impervious to people's lives lost yet fret more about their impertinent and archaic political framework. America has done well in achieving a solid democracy, yet some in Congress believe that society needs to be ordered as it were in 1776. We do not live in a time where the fear of "British Are Coming" is even relevant! America is now unbound by its past and controls its own will. However, we still see grave deaths as a result of archaically loose gun laws. It is time for politicians to see people's lives as more important than their political alliances. The NRA is not the singular problem, they don't sign legislation, it is time for bipartisan action.
Mike Davis (Fort Lee,Nj)
Nowadays when people want to talk about the inability of the congress to do something about problems affecting our communities they bad mouth all politicians. However when it comes to the major issues like gun violence and inability to do anything about climate change, all blame should be placed at the republicans feet. As it is today, this party obstruct almost everything of benefit to the average American.
Coureur des Bois (Boston)
Let's look at the media ritual after a mass shooting. They give it wall to wall coverage encouraging others to seek publicity. But when a TV reporter was shot on live TV, they practically covered up. Why? TV people knew that if they gave it a great deal of coverage it would happen more often and TV managers did not want to see more of their staff killed. Mass shootings drive TV ratings up and higher ratings mean more advertising money for TV. As the media feigns horror the dollars come rolling in. Real or fictional guns and mental illness mean profits for TV, and that makes solving the problem of mass shootings all the more difficult.
Nora01 (New England)
Same can be said for the supreme court and Congress. They are willing to claim unimpeded "rights" for gun owners but they won't let them carry their weapons in to their workplaces. Hypocrites that they are.
Maani (New York, NY)
"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Since a "well regulated militia" is no longer "necessary to the security of a free state" - given that we now have a "standing army" - isn't the Second Amendment ipso facto obsolete?
Talleyrand (Geneva, Switzerland)
This national ritual is, seen from abroad, one of the most savage aspects of our society. Not the killing itself, but the cold, sociopathic response on the part of "gun lovers" and the lobbyists who, unison, start with their particularly well-practiced liturgy:
1) "It's too early to talk about it."
2) "We mustn't respond emotionally"
3) "People kill people"

and so on.... Meanwhile, the trolls come out of the woodwork and pack the discussion sections with the most violent, dishonest, brutal rubbish.

Often they compare guns to cars. But here's the catch: cars are highly regulated, filled with safety systems, and drivers need a license. Sure, you can boost a car, but you have to be a real pro nowadays.

This character in Oregon was a known fruitcake, and for all intents and purposes he did not hide it. How in god's name did he get all that hardware? Maybe this time our lame duck president can lead the charge and start rolling back the pernicious terrorist campaign waged by Wayne LaPierre and the gun executives in this country, from Heston on down.
Tom Paine (Charleston, SC)
Let politicians of both stripes cut a deal: abolish the 2nd amendment in exchange for abolishing the 14th. Everyone gets to surrender some rights in the interest of making America great again. Oh - and while we're at it: limit legal abortions to the 1st trimester - that will end the coarse actions of PP and make the US a more humane country.

Easy to call for gun restrictions but what are liberals willing to surrender too that would offend their beliefs?
Nora01 (New England)
Abortion is not a "belief". It is a medical procedure.
Thomas Renner (Staten Island, NY)
The GOP loves to show their rating from the NRA and get very upset when it slips below a A. That should tell the story.Since the federal government via congress is paralyzed to take any action against or even talk about gun violence it is up to the states to pass hard laws. At least people will have a chance to move out of one that wants to be like the wild west.

Since the GOP vote in lockstep I wonder how their leaders and congress people can sleep at night. They seem to want a country that is like the wild west, each citizen must fend for themselves, sink or swim, a good education is only afforded by the 1%, money rules above all else. Its like they want to turn back the clock 150 years.
Nora01 (New England)
I think the real "wild" west was not as bad as it is now. The shoot out at the Okay corral would not be noteworthy if it occurred every month.
Citizen X (CT)
It's not guns. The real problem we face is the Internet. It's tearing apart the fabric of society (as it is). I am convinced that the internet should have been tightly regulated from the start. I realize this sounds terrible, but it's a conclusion that I'm only now coming to. From ISIS to mass murders, the Internet is where people become radicalized with ease. In addition as we are all "being hacked, all the time", something is serious wrong with this medium.
ellewilson (Vermont)
This is certainly a stretch. The internet is responsible for the murders? This is like saying that telephones or the US Postal Service or fax machines or smart phones are responsible. Get real.
reader (cincinnati)
Progressives need to openly discuss the role that Hollywood and the Video Game industry have in promoting and desensitizing violence. Hollywood liberals are just as guilty has the NRA in promoting a culture of violence.
Nora01 (New England)
Yes, I have an acquaintance whose husband develops video games. She said that he and his colleagues worry about the effect of the violence in the games and think they should not be sold to adolescents. They should be regulated like alcohol and tobacco. In fact, they may be more dangerous in the short term than either.
John Halloran (Ann Arbor Michigan)
The individuals who control the gun industry need to be identified and publicly shamed. They are nothing but merchants of death, and the profits they enjoy are blood money. Name and shame them. The local gun shops owners who sold the bullet that killed these people should be identified and asked if the profit from their sale is worth the life of the victim. We should NOT identify the shooter. Shooters should have no publicity. Instead identify the businessmen who profit from the shooter's crime.
Nora01 (New England)
The people organizing for sane gun regulations should take a page from the anti-abortion crowd. Picket the gun shops weekly. Harass - ops - educate/counsel the people entering the shops about the danger of guns. You get the idea. Like women, gun owners can't possibly understand the effects of their actions.
tobby (Minneapolis)
Here is the solution, once again I will never vote for a candidate for public office, who does not publicly state that he/she will promise to legislate for responsible gun control laws and then carry out that promise. Unfortunately, this will pretty much leave out Republican candidates for office.
Michelle the Economist (Newport Coast, CA)
These schools are all "gun free' zones so evil people who want to shoot and kill naturally gravitate to where they know no one can shoot back. Kind of obvious, isn't it? The solution: make sure every school has one or more trained, armed security people.

The naive knee-jerk response is "gun control" but that simply does not work. Chicago has very strong gun controls, for example. Every State which has liberalized concealed weapons permits has seen a sharp drop in violent crime, and the reason is pretty obvious.
Nora01 (New England)
Sorry, campus or school police do exist. In many places they are armed but no one knows where - which building, which classroom or hall or restroom - a shooting will take place. By the time the security officers arrive, it is all over except for shooting the killer.

High power weapons with the ability to fire rounds in rapid succession make your argument worthless.
Eduardo (Indianapolis)
It's an American tragedy that could not be seen as isolated cases. We have to work in gun controls, and also in diminishing the violence in video games, TV series and American films. We have to proactively detect potential cases and treated them and their families. Increase the security and so increase the number of people armed in the schools is not a solution, it's to surrender to violence.
Bruce (Ms)
We do not need another black market but we do need strong background checks before the purchase, legal requirements to report all second hand sales or loss due to robbery, with some responsibility accruing to the original purchaser of the firearm.
And we need real psychological/psychiatric help available to us without the big problems that today's high deductibles and lack of providers are causing. It is not easy for a young person to find good help and counseling, unless he can afford to pay the high deductible on his policy, and many Docs won't see you until you complete and expensive detox program.
While we're at it let's restrict our own gun/armament manufacturing industry, which makes tons of money serving the bloody needs of the military dominated governments around the world and right here at home.
vtcollier (ann arbor)
The "well regulated militia" justification for the 2d Amendment has been militarily pointless for a century and makes no sense at all today. When will the Department of Defense announce that, and the Congress start the repeal process? Until then, the slaughter of the innocents will continue.
Shaun Narine (Fredericton, Canada)
I was just watching a CBC report where the reporter interviewed people in line in a blood donor line in Roseburg. The reporter could not find a single person, man or woman, who felt that the US needed stronger gun control laws. To me, this is symptomatic of exactly how sick the US is. If the US cannot look at every other advanced Western country and realize that it is a deeply sick society that needs to confront its gun problem, then nothing will be done. If so, Americans have only themselves to blame for the misery to which they subject themselves.
Boston Benny (Boston)
So often the politicians affiliated with the NRA, argue against legalizing drugs (some libertarians excluded) by using the logic that by making drugs more available, they will become more widespread and infect families. This same logic, however, (probably because of NRA money) cannot be transferred guns.
Once again guns have torn families apart, but politically, it is more important for gun manufacturers to have open and easy access to a gun crazy culture. Mercer had 14 guns, all purchased legally.
fact or friction? (maryland)
Presumably, Scalia, Thomas, Alito, Roberts and Kennedy would argue that the shooter needed his handguns so that he could, when the time came, serve as a member of a well regulated militia, using his own weapons.

At what point do we as a society reject the current distorted, anachronistic interpretation of the 2nd amendment — the sole purpose of which was actually to ensure that state governments had the ability to field armed men in the event the central government couldn't?
Sharkie (Boston)
People are going berserk because they are helpless and that makes them angry. elections are a farce. A quarter of the country is out of work. Job security is gone. Threats of outsourcing or insourcing in every workplace. Real incomes shrinking. Drowning in debt. Privacy is dead. Prices are fixed. And MSM feeds us nothing but lies. The answer is a proletarian republic. You couldn't seize half a billion guns anyway even if it were constitutional. Fix the real problem, sham democracy.
MRW (Berkeley, CA)
I'm so done with the right wing mantra of "we should keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill" as an excuse not to have real gun safety regulation. As another article in today's NYTs noted, the Oregon shooter would have passed muster on Oregon's new background check law. The reality is that often the people who perpetrate these mass shootings haven't been violent in the past. Not every mentally ill person seeks help and can be identified. Most mentally ill people are not violent. Bottom line, it is impossible to accurately predict who will pick up a gun and kill innocent people. It's time to get these military grade weapons and ammunition out of our communities, and to institute gun safety laws with teeth. Removing the gun is the only way to decrease gun violence.
Cassandra (Central Jersey)
Ironically, it is the mental health of Republicans which is behind the gun violence.

The simple solution is not to try to change human behavior, but to remove guns from American society. There are too many guns, and it is too easy for crazy people to get their hands on them. Consequently, we have too many innocent people being killed by madmen.

Republicans are sick with greed and cowardice. They fear the NRA and worship guns, which represent not just money but demented power. But for the mental illness of Republicans, we could actually solve this problem.

Every politician who has been cowered by the gun lobby, has blood on his hands. Again.
weathercaller (Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA)
Guns don't kill people. Bullets kill people. Guns are everywhere and can be used over and over again. Bullets can only be used once. Stop the manufacturing and distribution of bullets. Here's an idea: impose a "death tax" on each bullet sold. $1000 per bullet, with all revenue collected to be distributed in equal measure to victims of gun violence and law enforcement.
An iconoclast (Oregon)
While on the one hand all the winging hand wringing in the world will not bring back one life or recover any weapons of the no one knows how many the paper could at least explain to readers what a federally licensed gun dealer is. And yes gun shows should be outlawed. They are a cultural artifact of right wing nuts who senselessly perpetuate the proliferation of guns in our communities.

My understanding is that a federally licensed gun dealer is no different from a person who sells more than four autos a year and is therefore required to apply for and receive a license.
CityBumpkin (Earth)
In 2014, there was a knife attack in a extremely crowded metro transit station, where people were packed closely together, in Taipei, Taiwan. There were 4 fatalities and 24 non-fatal injuries. There is a definite gap between the lethality of a firearm and a bladed weapon.

Random violence occurs in other countries, but easy access to firearms in the US increases the likelihood of fatalities.
Lynne (Usa)
I'm going out on a limb here but does anyone know more than a handful of people without mental health issues? I can pick out major Daddy issues afflicting some of the candidates and a very serious question as to what reality most of them are living in. Based solely on the fact that our three branches of government do not allow guns in their workplace, we can be 100% sure they know how dangerous they can be (to their safety of course).
The easiest way to get guns under control is to insure them. We have fairly strict driving laws and once parents got wind that their homeowners could be sued if kids left their homes drunk and underage, they paid a little closer attention to what was going on in the basement. So maybe arming your kid who has a fascination with guns and violence to the teeth will be looked at closer if it hits you in the purse. Trust me insurance companies and personal injury attorneys could solve this "mental health crisis" in a minute.
If the politic class has an ounce of class, they'll simply shut up. The families, the first responders, the trauma doctors and nurses, the funeral directors should be heard.
carla van rijk (virginia beach, va)
President Obama set just the right emotional note as well as moral guidance for the nation after the latest Oregon mass shootings. His advice to the majority of American people who advocate for gun control legislation was spot on: vote on this single issue until the laws are changed. When the President speaks in anger about gun violence in America, it sounds like a genuine despair rather than empty political obligatory speeches.

Sociologists who've studied the phenomena of teenage suicide have scientifically concluded that the greater the increase in media reporting of teen suicide, the higher the number of copycat suicides that follow. I would dare say that the plight of the mentally disturbed & impulsively angry young male lone mass shooter is very similar if not more menacing. For these powerless young men, there is some perverted sense of justice in randomly executing innocent people in a public place & knowing that their otherwise anonymous existence will be notoriously scrutinized by newspapers & TV stations around the world. Another sign of the copycat phenomena was the shooters copycat behavior of asking people their religion before shooting which mimicked ISIL propaganda videos. The shooter apparently sympathized with the ILA & wore military fatigues day in & day out while collecting an arsenal of guns which should have been a big red flag. Denmark changed their gun laws after the 2011 horrific mass shooting, why can't we?
HSmith (Denver)
Guns have no place in our society. This is not an ironic or facetious comment, it means what it says. Somebody had to say it like it like that to make a strong middle position with strong controls tenable. Those who hunt can get permits, valid for a few weeks. Those who target shoot, limit it them to gun ranges where the guns are kept. Those who live in isolated areas with wild creatures carve out an exception, but not an open ended loophole. Otherwise, get rid of guns entirely.
Square Deal (Hammonton, NJ)
Legal gun owners should be held strictly liable if their weapons are used in the commission of crimes by others if their firearms were not properly secured. This would require prior police reports and investigations whenever an owner's is missing to show that the weapon was properly protected. This alone would put many gun owners on notice that they risk losing everything if they are careless with their firearms and help to keep many guns out of the hands of the wrong people.
Nora01 (New England)
And every gun owner should be required to have liability insurance to pay damages to the victims of a shooting by one of their guns regardless of who pulled the trigger. You want to own guns? Accept the responsibility that comes with it.
Know It All (Brooklyn, NY)
Sure, lets start talking - again - about gun violence.

>More people die in vehicle fatalities each year than from gun fatalities (about 30,000 v about 8,000). Abuse of of motor vehicles is killing more than 3x as many people as the abuse of guns. Perspective is needed.
>Let's consider how many people strongly advocate for conceal and carry as a potential deterrent to gun violence. Like it or not, it probably would have an impact in discouraging some of these nut jobs or cause them to think twice before going on a rampage. if they might be taken out immediately as opposed to waiting around for the police to do their job.
>Let's stop with the canard that its all the NRA big bad lobbying power that is cowing our elected leaders. Many, many citizens, as well as many, many of our elected officials strongly support the 2nd Amendment.

Tragic as Oregon, Aurora, Newtown and Columbine are, they are just a small continuation of this country's long love affair with guns and blasé acceptance of violence - from guns as well as other deadly weapons.

Lets stop the hand wringing, accept that our's is a blood soaked nation and move on with our lives.
Tony Longo (Brooklyn)
It's ironic for the Times to refer to this discussion as a "ritual", since you have no glimmer of a new direction in which the fifty years of futile argument can go.
Decades of rhetoric in favor of national gun control has accomplished nothing. It should be completely obvious, both from these results and from the current makeup of Congress, that no such measures are going to be enacted in our lifetimes. However, ignore this fact and start thinking about what you would like to happen if gun controls could be imposed tomorrow.
It's perfectly well known that millions of Americans fit the informal definition of the term "gun nut' - people who would break the law, violently or otherwise, if anyone tried to take their guns away. This means that no sane government would try to "grandfather in" any new controls; they would only take effect going forward, and would therefore have no impact for at least a generation.
But how do you expect to enforce the prohibition against people who don't really need weapons from getting them? Why will this go any better than the War on Drugs? As usual, government doesn't really have the power to intervene in this way, unless it attempts police-state tactics - and in a nation the size and wealth of America, that is likely impossible. We're unable to keep guns out of the hands of the poorest, most desperate inner-city residents, even with the strictest local laws in place.
Drop your pointless oratory about political solutions. Think Elsewhere.
Bob Cudlin (Ewa Beach, HI)
The editorial and virtually all the comments are citing the Oregon shootings as a reason to enact additional "reasonable" "sensible" gun laws. Could someone please enumerate what those laws would be and how they would have prevented this particular tragedy? As I understand the reporting this guy used a hand gun and (I think this is the reporting) reloaded it at least once. The gun, as well as others that he owned, were all purchased from Federally licensed dealers and he passed all background checks. I believe some of the guns at his home were purchased by his mother, again in compliance with current laws. So it would be helpful to get specific about what laws would have prevented this.
Sara G. (New York, NY)
Great questions. Some attempts at answers:
-Central gun registry with a purchase limit (this man had, what 12 or 14 guns? That's called an arsenal.).
-Ban high capacity magazines
-Expand the 24 hour gun background check to make it universal.
-Reinstitute the assault weapons ban.
-Only allow gun sales via registered, licensed dealers.
-Require licensing and firearms safety classes requirement before purchase.
-Periodic renewal of licensing (as is done with cars & trucks).
-Compulsory liability insurance (as is required with cars & trucks).
JonJ (Philadelphia)
There seem to be many ideas out there to stop this wave of gun killings: pray to God to stop it, pass the laws that have already been proposed in Congress, come up with new laws, cure the violently mentally ill, and on and on.

These ideas have been brought up for years after each one of these incidents. None of them has gone anywhere. I suggest that this is an insoluble problem. I'm very distress to say this, but I don't see any solution to it.

I therefore suggest that people working on this problem put their time and energy somewhere else. Since it's basically Congressional Republicans who are blocking solutions, we should simply work on getting them out of office. If we can do that, it will be much easier to work on not only this issue but many others.
Paul (Long island)
As far as I'm concerned, the largely Republican political class subservient to the gun manufacturers all have blood on their hands. President Obama is right to show his frustration and anger. Most Americans have felt that way for some time, especially after Newtown almost two years ago. The President is absolutely right; there are "commonsense" solutions that could sharply reduce the national health emergency of regular gun massacres that start with universal background checks and perhaps should include licenses as well. For years the auto industry avoided safety measures by claiming it was "the nut behind the wheel," but finally we have mandatory seat belts, laws enforcing their use as well as airbags, and thousands of lives saved each year. It's time for Congress to stop its criminal negligence by blaming the "nut shooting the gun" and protect the American people instead of the gun industry.
John Barakos, MFT (ca)
Any solution proposed from either extreme will only foster conflict and the very disconnection that potentates the violence we are tying to prevent. We need to solicit the moderates and find common ground on both sides of the argument. This solutioncould garner enough support toget passed.
We can directly look at preventing the next mass murderer from having access to this style of weapon. I would love to be part of a think tank that looks at this from a multi faceted perspective .
Bumpercar (New Haven, CT)
Laws are a balance. If the speed limit on highways were 10 mph there would be no deaths. But we are willing to accept a little carnage for convenience and economics.

When we say guns shouldn't be regulated, when we say assault weapons are OK we are saying as a society that we are willing to accept the occasional mass slaughter of innocents because little boys want to shoot at targets in their backyards. There is no walking away from this. It's the deal we are cutting as a society.

Gun nut arguments are all empty. They are rationalizations by people who can't accept that the policies they support result in mass murder. But that's the reality.
Gary (U.S.A.)
Yet again, the typical knee-jerk reactions: from the left, ban guns; from the right, it's crazy people, we need to pray and get back to Jesus.

Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results, is insanity.

Look, this kid and the one before in Southern California were lonely, horny virginal loners. Beset from the left with "men are beasts" for wanting sex,
and from the right with "wait until you get married", they could only go crazy instead of going to a brothel.

Concurrently, left wing, right wing and money wing all tout victimism, whoever can whine the loudest is the most entitled. (see Jonathan Haidt's recent article on coddling in the Atlantic).

So these kids give up hope, see themselves as victims with no way out, might as well get 15 minutes of fame and make somebody else suffer - it only seems fair given the cult of victimism abounding.

Note well that Australia and Canada both have (somewhat) legal prostitution and much more open societies about sex.

The shooting victims' blood is on the hands of the left wing as much as the right. Shame on you lefties for pushing victimist mentality, and shame on the right wing for refusing to get real about sexuality.

What it's really time to talk about is (re-)legalizing prostitution and having meaningful sex/relationship education in this nation, as well as cutting the victim nonsense: we're well on the way along the race to the bottom of learned helplessness and incompetence.
C. Dancer (Chicago)
The 2nd amendment is not a carte blanche to own any weapon. I cannot have an A bomb in my basement, nor caches of poison gas. I cannot own sticks of dynamite, grenades, or shoulder held rockets. In brief, I cannot have weapons of mass destruction.

So, obviously, the 2nd amendment has constitutional limitations. I am allowed certain weapons, but not others. I am not allowed to have weapons of mass destruction.

Automatic weapons are weapons of mass destruction. Automatic weapons are solely designed to kill large numbers of people in a short period of time. That is their purpose and they are very efficient at doing it.

Just as I am not allowed to own other weapons of mass destruction, I should not be able to own automatic weapons. There is no justification for Americans to be able to own automatic weapons.

Ban all automatic weapons. Now!
em (Toronto)
It's time for the social scientists to get to work to delineate the personality type, the incubation period, precipitating events and family characteristics of these shooters, which seem, at first blush to have something in common with suicides and the families of survivors, who also appear inexplicable at what's happened.

Once this work is done, country comparisons might help show the impact of not having gun access, all of which would then give rise to appropriate gun control legislation - not as a rights issue, but as a public health issue.

The political ritual is pointless as currently practised. Nothing is stopping President Obama from drafting a new law. Likewise for all of the other polictians and the outrageously silent public health officials who know better but stay silent to serve imagined career interests.

It's time for meaningful activity.
paul (<br/>)
At the heart of our problem with gun violence lies the collision between the 2nd Amendment and Article 6 of the Constitution. The 2nd Amendment has been used to justify the almost unlimited private ownership of firearms in the United States. Article 6 makes Federal rules the law of the land. Consequently local jurisdictions cannot effectively control the accumulation of firearms in their communities. The path forward would be a constitutional amendment explicitly eliminating Federal jurisdiction over gun control - that should make the NRA happy. But then the 10th Amendment can be applied to enable communities to regulate gun ownership according to local preferences. Gun-enthusiasts can migrate to gun states, and people who want to try living without guns can migrate to gun-free states. The current legal gridlock makes it impossible to perform this great social experiment.
M.K. MD (Chicago)
Claiming that improving availability of mental health services will reduce the risks of these recurrent murderous shooting rampages ignores the fact that most of the perpetrators of these atrocities are the least likely individuals to seek mental health care and that, even if we had any method to screen and detect potential murderers and force them into psychiatric care, the least likely to respond to treatment. Let's stop using this bogus claim and address the real issue: easy availability of highly lethal weapons.
Centrist35 (Manassas, VA)
I am not going to blame guns, at least not directly. Rather, I am going to blame society in general and the shooter's mother. I hope that others can see the common denominator of alienation and associated mental issues that were apparent but left untreated. In this case, the shooter was a special ed student, a recluse, a 26 year old virgin and, along with his mother, a gun hoarder. The similarities with Newtown are striking. A doting mother who did nothing about his problems in conjunction with an arsenal of weapons spelt trouble with a capital T. Such people should be identified and not left within a country mile of any weapon.
H.G. (N.J.)
@centrist35: Oh, yes. Let's just blame the woman. Because that solves anything.
WJH (New York City)
The rationalization and simple bad faith false reasoning so amply on display in these comments is appalling. Well I don't think anyone should be prevented from owning as many guns as they like but each one should be insured as a car is. If one disables a gun so that it cannot be easily made ready for use or if one keeps one or more in certified storage I can see not requiring insurance for those weapons. Also if a gun goes missing or is stolen the owner should be required to report it and if he/she doesn't he/she should carry some partial liability for any damage inflicted by it. Owners should be licensed in the sense that they should be required to show that they know how to operate them safely and understand the laws regulating them and are mentally competent to use them. We do that with just about any category of dangerous machinery such as automobiles, trucks, locomotives, and aircraft; it is seen as only common sense. It is only with firearms that we can't find our way to a balanced regulatory regime that is consistent with freedom of ownership. We know who to thank for that.
One not only has the right to own a gun, one has the right to own an arsenal of military grade weapons. Is there any threshold beyond which gun rights advocates would reconsider their opposition to any and all gun restrictions? There are more than 10,000 gun homicides in the US each year (and many more suicides). Apparently, that's not enough to compel any preventive action. Were it to double or triple, would it then be enough?
A small number of Tylenol murders changed product packaging ever since. An unsuccessful shoe bomber resulted in requiring all air travelers to remove their shoes. A few Americans were exposed to ebola in Africa and enormous precautions were taken to keep it from spreading. Thirty thousand gun deaths a year and we do nothing. Unbelievable.
h (hk)
Americans, as individuals, have the constitutional right to bear arms; they should also, as a nation, have the moral duty to mourn innocent victims of that right.

If all else fails, the President should henceforth respond to all multi-victim killings by ordering the national flag to be flown at half-mast, one day for each victim. The current proclamation should be extended to October 10th.

At an average of 16.4 shooting sprees per year, the flag would be at half-mast for at least a month a year. Such national shaming just might restore some necessary sanity.
blackmamba (IL)
The mass shooting problem and gun control problem rests in three myths.

Myth Number One: The Founding Fathers intended that Americans have an individual 2nd Amendment right to bear arms. The 2nd Amendment was written at a time that the British Empire was still an existential threat superpower, hostile Native Americans were extant, about 20% of Americans were enslaved Africans, there was no regular standing army nor local law enforcement, Americans lived in rural communities and there were wild beasts to eat and to attack us. And all the Founding Father's thought about was the maintenance "of a well regulated militia" as the base need to bear arms. With a third of American homes with one or more guns getting rid of guns is not going to happen.

Myth Number Two: Gun violence involving mass shootings and shootings by strangers and criminals make up a majority of shootings. Of the 33,000 Americans who die from gun shot every year about 2/3rds are suicides. And a substantial portion of the remainder involve family, friends and neighbors. About 400 people die in mass shootings.

Myth Number Three: There are plausible credible politically achievable significant gun control laws or regulations that can prevent mass shootings. Background checks work for those with a background to check like a criminal record. But what about a known or unknown mental health issue? Or those with no criminal record?
Annette Magjuka (IN)
We just read about a big pharma company unscrupulously marketing a drug approved for a small group of mental health patients to children and old people. Why? Profit. VW was caught cheating on environmental standards. Why? Profit. The NRA markets war grade firearms to the general population. Why? Profit. All giant corporations and their lobbyists control everything in America. They pay politicians to turn a blind eye. Everything and everyone are collateral damage to this entrenched system. If people start speaking up, the districts are gerrymandered so votes don't matter. Until "we the people" get actively involved and demand laws for the common good and safety of all, all of these unspeakable tragedies will continue. Mass shootings, defiled environment, kids drugged with who knows what so they are quiet in school--all this proves that we don't matter to politicians. Only money matters. It is beyond tragic.
KHL (Pfafftown)
Of the three people I know who have been shot, one committed suicide, one was an accident and the other by an angry assailant. (the latter two survived) Only one of these shooters might have been classified as "mentally ill", though the young woman who killed herself did so in an impulsive act of desperation and likely would have passed any background check or test for sanity. I’d wager that people who shoot other people are rarely mentally ill. More often they're just angry and impulsive, which these days qualify as national traits.

To focus on treating mental illness alone will solve little. It doesn’t take a government report to know that easy access to guns, especially in the home, makes killing extremely easy. Still, the fact that the government is being effectively blocked from collecting data on shootings is unconscionable and tells me all I need to know about those blocking the data. They are complicit in every easy killing in this country.

How long will it take before each of us personally knows a victim? Will that personal connection make any difference?
See also