But also as a practical matter, we are foolish not to take the steps that we can to reduce the chances of any public shooting becoming a large slaughter.
As we debate further regulation — Congress is considering new legislation — keep an eye out for gun control opponents who attempt to claim that any new regulations are tantamount to removing your right to own a firearm.
The National Rifle Association especially, and the congressmen who partner with it, will try to have you believe that no further reasonable regulatory lines can be drawn, that all regulations are an attack on the Second Amendment.
After the Newtown shooting, the NRA has taken an extremist position: that no additional gun control regulations are warranted on any firearms or their ammunition — not even semi-automatics or 100-bullet drum magazines.
Furthermore, you will hear the argument that gun ownership in America is necessary to defend against the potential tyranny of our own government. This is the most illogical and fanciful of all the pro-gun discourse.
It is so bizarre an argument that it is difficult to know quite where to begin to respond. While an authoritarian government is possible theoretically, exactly how would it develop in America, a 236-year-old democracy with widely shared and strong traditions of freedom, with an incredibly robust system of procedures and checks and balances, with an aggressive free press, and with a governmental design that deliberately distributes power across four branches?
Would nobody notice — would nobody object — as this tyrannical force attempted to take power? Would nobody notice if elections were canceled? How long would this coup take? Just who would favor this tyranny? And what about all of the police departments and the military? Where would they fit into this fantastic scenario?
How long would it take before we’d need to hole up in our armed homes and fire away at our government? If the military joins the tyranny, we’d defeat their tanks, drones and F-15s? And if the military won’t sign up with the authorities, then how do they commandeer the nation?