Like many of us, I’ve been thinking a lot about how we could change the laws in this country so that we might actually be able to prevent incidents like the Connecticut school massacre.
I’ve long been an unenthusiastic supporter of stricter gun control. Supporter because I think the wild proliferation of guns is doing terrible things to our country. (Personally, I’d ban everything but hunting rifles.) Unenthusiastic because I have real doubts that anything other than a near-total prohibition would do much good — and that’s not going to happen.
At the moment, I’m thinking that we should focus on doing much, much more to screen people for mental illness before we allow them to buy guns. I don’t know if it would have mattered in Connecticut, especially if it turns out that the guns were purchased by the shooter’s mother. But it might very well have prevented the Gabrielle Giffords and Virginia Tech shootings.
And since we know that this is going to get bogged down in politics, it also seems to me that keeping paranoid schizophrenics away from guns might be the one issue on which Republicans could be persuaded to stand up to the NRA.