The Connecticut Shootings: Now is the Time for a Debate over Gun Control

I understand and share President Obama’s concerns for the victims of today’s tragic school shootings in Connecticut and their families. But I am troubled by White House spokesman Jay Carney’s contention that today should not be a day to discuss the issue of gun control. 

If not now, when?  

It is no disservice to the victims to explore public policies that could mitigate the terrible, senseless carnage we have seen again and again across America. Movie-goers in Aurora. A congresswoman in Tucson. High school students in Columbine. And today, elementary school children in Sandy Hook. Innocents all.  

Something is terribly wrong when our children are not safe in schools, when none of us is safe in a shopping mall, a cinema, a restaurant, the workplace. I don’t pretend to know the answers, but if ever it was time for a president, especially one fresh from a resounding election victory, to raise the issue for a somber, inclusive and nonpartisan public debate, this should be it. These tragedies cry out for political leadership. They should bring us closer together in resolve, not drive us further apart.

So, Mr. Carney and President Obama, we will take this day to mourn with the victims. Perhaps tomorrow, we can take action.

Editor’s Note: After the July 2012 shootings in Aurora, Colorado, Daniel Kauffman examined the connection between stronger gun control laws and decreases in gun violence. Read his analysis here »