St. Charles Herald-Guide

Gun control has to find the right people

Our View - December 20, 2012

It has been a grief-filled week gone by as residents of Newtown, Conn. began burying those who were shot to death by a person who was obviously mentally ill. In addition to 20 school children, six adults, including the school principal who was trying to save her students, lost their lives in an insane act.

Now the big question arises - what can be done to prevent this from happening in the future?

Of course, many will call for stricter gun-control laws. To a certain extent, that could be effective but it is not the complete answer.

Gun control can limit the number of guns that are out there but it wonít necessarily limit the types of people who possess those guns. And that is where the answer should lie.

If we could prevent criminals and mentally troubled people from possessing guns, we will go a long way towards solving the problem. If anyone can come up with an effective way to bring that about, let it be known.

But if we merely make it more difficult for the public to own guns, we will be cutting down on the number of law-abiding citizens who own guns. And they are the ones who can help to defend themselves and others when they are attacked by criminals.

Gun owners are more numerous in rural areas and yet the murder rate is much higher in urban areas. Washington D. C. has some of the strongest gun control laws and yet it has been among the leaders in murder rates in the country.

Gun ownership doubled in the United States during the last half of the 20th century and yet, the murder rate went down. So ownership of guns is not the question. Itís who owns them and what their intent is. Guns donít murder people by themselves. It takes an evil-minded person holding one to do so.

If we could siphon out such people from the worldís population and prevent them from owning and having access to guns, we would help make a peaceful world, indeed. Letís work on that solution.