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Finley: New gun laws won’t stop next Newtown

There are few physical things I love more than guns. But I would’ve melted down every rifle, shotgun and pistol I own had I thought it would spare the life of even one of those precious children massacred in Connecticut last week.

It wouldn’t have. And the post-shooting solutions being demanded in response to the slaying of 20 pupils and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown won’t prevent another outrage.

But here we are waging a culture war instead of coming together to figure out if there’s actually something we can do that might work.

More gun control, at least not the proposals on the table, won’t do it. Connecticut has some of the nation’s toughest gun laws — including restrictions on assault weapons, a waiting period for firearm purchases and no-carry zones covering schools.

And yet none of those measures stopped a disturbed Adam Lanza from loading his mother’s guns into his car and carrying out his slaughter of innocents. Similarly, the gun control measures offered by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., mostly restore the assault weapons ban in place between 1994 and 2004, laws that didn’t prevent Columbine and other mass shootings during the period.

Her proposal grandfathers the nearly 300 million firearms currently in private hands, including the semi-automatics that are the target of gun foes. While it prohibits the sale of nearly 200 specific weapons, it wouldn’t affect more than 900 other guns currently on the market, and any one of them could be used effectively by someone intent on committing mass mayhem.

Unless we’re willing to blow up the Second Amendment and go door-to-door confiscating every privately owned gun, passing feel-good gun control laws is pointless.

But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing we can do. Gun owners have a powerful incentive to address gun abuse. Their rights are on the line.

Every gun I own is locked in a safe. Trigger locks are available for a couple of bucks each, and usually come free with a gun purchase. Use them. Parents know if their children are troubled or prone to violent outbreaks. Keep the guns out of their reach.

Personal responsibility should go hand in hand with gun ownership. Passed your concealed pistol class and got your license to carry? Great. But don’t leave your gun in the car or a purse for thieves to grab.

Gun makers should also read the handwriting on the wall. Feeding the lust for ever-more deadly weaponry may produce profits today, but risks killing their business in the long run.

Same goes for the entertainment industry. The First Amendment can fall as easily as the Second, and there’s a growing call to “do something” about bloody movies, music and video games. Lanza reportedly was a devotee of one of the more gory games. Who knows if that’s where he got his inspiration?

There’s no room for censorship laws, but there should be some self-imposed boundaries of taste and common sense.

Hollywood is not loath to use its art to crusade, why not aid the cause of creating a less violent society by toning down the grisly and graphic imagery? Haven’t we pushed the envelope about as far as it can go?

These are things we ought to be able to talk about. And we can, if we set aside opportunism and political agendas and bore down to what might head off the next Newtown.
Source: The Detroit News:

Published Date: Wednesday, December 19th, 2012 | 10:57 PM

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