Nothing is filling newspaper column inches and the blogosphere more than what happened in Newtown on Friday. Everyone has an opinion - from Morgan Freeman to Mayor Michael Bloomberg - from Matt Lauer to to the Governor of Connecticut. Some are calling for action, others restraint, while we all grieve with the parents.
I think there is time for both.
Last night I fell asleep cuddling my eight year old daughter. Up and down the length of this nation - I know there are thousands (if not millions) who are doing the same. We are all praying for the families of everyone killed and holding our children a little closer.
But we cannot wait any longer - the status quo must not be allowed to continue.
I stood at the Virginia Tech memorial yesterday and read the names of the 32 victims. I couldn't help think that nothing has been done to stop this happening again. I hope there is a real feeling around the country that we must not do the same, after these beautiful children and their school teachers have been laid to rest.
Its my hope that the President takes action this week. I hope he issues several executive orders to close loopholes that require everyone to have a background check. And in particular, he stops the gun-show loop hole. I hope he cracks down on everyone that has lied on a background check to obtain a firearm. Then I hope that the bill being presented to congress by Dianne Feinstein that bans assault rifles, is passed.
I also hope that we take mental healthcare seriously and stop reducing the funding needed to identify and treat those deranged individuals who would do such unspeakable things. I hope there is legislation passed that stops the mentally ill gaining access to weapons - including a ban on guns in the homes of those that are mentally ill.
There also needs to be a wider debate about the way we portray violence in our society. For example - an R rated video game or movie must not be allowed to be advertised on a Sunday afternoon when a father and young son are watching a game of football.
The mainstream news organizations must be held accountable too. They way CNN covered the unfolding tragedy on Friday was terrible. Putting microphones in front of children and distraught parents just fed the trail of misinformation. At best, it was unprofessional and immoral.
Gun control is just one aspect of this conversation. Those idealists who advocate a complete ban on guns do nothing but push decent people who hunt and believe in their right to defend themselves into the arms of the NRA. I believe a re-writing of the 2nd Amendment in a way that upheld the rights of all Americans to hunt and defend themselves, would weaken the NRA. This way, a permanent ban on assault rifles and military style handguns could pass through congress.
I can never understand how we can justify allowing anyone in our society to own or use military style weapons, like any of those used on Friday. If you want to use a semi-automatic rifle or Glock, then go join the Army or Police!
Everyone has a right to own guns under the second Amendment of the Constitution. But the for the sake of those little children killed on Friday, and those children still alive who are in danger right now, we must act, as well as grieve.
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