I was dismayed and disgusted by the news that Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza was on the FBI’s radar for at least four years before the Newtown shooting occurred. Four years. I understand that there are laws that need to be obeyed, and sometimes, those same laws hamstring law enforcement to the point where they are not able to step in and stop something before it actually happens. Sometimes, the public at large will look at how law enforcement might deal with any given situation and wonder why steps weren’t taken to tighten the gun control situation in the United States further.
In the case of Adam Lanza, it was a matter of ownership; specifically, according to the Toronto Star, it was a matter of who actually owned the guns he ultimately used to gun down several elementary school aged children and his own mother before turning those same weapons on himself. A man, whose name is not known, due to the heavy redaction done on the 1,500 pages released by the FBI regarding the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, reported that Lanza was looking at conducting a widespread killing spree in 2008, but the police effectively could do nothing because, while Lanza was the one who was planning the attack, his mother owned the guns that were ultimately used.
Following Sandy Hook, there were increased calls for gun control, and then-President Barack Obama, who had recently been re-elected, fought to see increased measures for gun control put in place. However, according to Vox, “due to Republican filibuster, nothing came of the bipartisan legislation to strengthen background checks that Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) hashed out in the following weeks.”
News that the FBI apparently knew about the dangers posed by Adam Lanza is being railed against by some on social media.
Independent reported that after the mass shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, where some 49 individuals were killed by gunman Omar Mateen, it was discovered that Mateen had been investigated twice by the FBI and had, in spite of these investigations, been able to purchase a Sig Sauer MCX and a larger magazine in order to fire more rounds continuously without having to reload just nine days before the killings. In addition, a year following the Pulse shooting, Florida Democrats claimed that every effort to see increased gun control legislation passed was effectively stonewalled, even though the state was still reeling from the aftermath of the Pulse shooting.
While the nation still looks for answers as to why the shooting in Las Vegas occurred, Congress has been busy discussing a range of proposed gun control legislation, ranging from bump stock regulation, to the introduction of smart phone technology to only allow authorized users to use firearms. However, gun owners have been busy pushing back in the wake of such legislation, suggesting that such laws will infringe upon their constitutional rights to gun ownership.
I realize I am not an American, and certainly, in Canada, our gun laws are far from perfect. However, I fail to see the need for anyone, apart from law enforcement — and even then that might be a bit of a stretch, depending on circumstance — to have a need to own an assault rifle. I do not understand why any gun owner might have need of a larger magazine, simply for the sake of being able to fire more rounds continuously.
Mostly, I fail to understand why any politician would even think that further delays, as far as gun control is concerned, is a good thing.
I understand that the NRA has proven to be a powerful lobby against gun control measures, and that the inalienable right to bear arms that many Americans adhere to is something which many Americans are very passionate about. However, there is a huge difference between having a firearm in order to support your family, as is the case when someone is hunting animals for the sake of feeding said family, and feeling that it is your inalienable right to own a handgun or an assault rifle just because the Constitution says it is okay. Handguns and assault rifles are used for primarily one purpose: armament for either law enforcement or for those who are going to war and are therefore trained to use them for those purposes. Letting people go ahead and continue under these circumstances with no further gun control measures put forth by politicians is only opening the door for further tragedies such as Sandy Hook, Orlando, and Las Vegas to occur.
[Feature Image by Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]