The Norman Transcript

Columns

September 1, 2013

Leaders should step up

NORMAN — Our nation dodged a hail of bullets, literally and figuratively, a week ago when a young man armed with an AK-47 assault rifle surrendered to police after invading an Atlanta-area school.

A school clerk, Antoinette Tuff, talked 19-year-old Michael Brandon Hill, who had already fired at police outside the school, into surrendering.

If not for her calm and courageous action, we all know how this would have played out. It would have been a bloodbath, and the nation would have again mourned innocent lives lost.

It’s happened in Newtown, Conn., in Littleton, Colo., in Aurora, Colo., and at Virginia Tech. And it will happen again while the nation sits idly by and continues to allow basically unfettered access to assault rifles and other semi-automatic weapons.

President Obama had deep resolve to instigate meaningful gun control in the aftermath of the Newtown shooting last December at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Twenty schoolchildren and eight adults died. We were all shocked and determined to make sure other children didn’t face such dangers.

But the powerful National Rifle Association lobby and conservative members of Congress torpedoed Obama’s efforts. So, here we are, eight months later, with nothing really having changed. Assault rifles are still easy to acquire, and virtually anyone with a twisted mind and evil intent can do what Hill set out to do last week.

When our forefathers wrote the Bill of Rights, they did not foresee the development of semi-automatic weapons or the way some “citizens” might use them. If they had, the Second Amendment would be worded much differently. And the fact remains that you are statistically in greater danger having a gun in your home than not having a gun in your home.

The children at Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy got lucky. The nation got lucky. But the next set of children who face a deranged gunman armed with 500 rounds of ammunition will be laid to rest in early graves. Still, our nation’s leaders stand idly by, lacking the courage and the foresight to do what should be done, what must be done.

How many more children have to die?

Our nation’s leaders lack the courage to do what must be done — ban semi-automatic weapons.

— The Herald Bulletin, Anderson, Ind.

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