Just one month ago record numbers of Washington area residents attended the Nation's Gun Show in nearby Chantilly, Va. With children in tow, gun enthusiasts poured into the three-day event and purchased a record number of legal weapons including the type of semi-automatic weapon used by a 20-year-old lone gunman who killed 20 kindergarten-aged children and seven adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., last Friday. It is the legal sale and possession of these handguns that has resulted in the deaths of three people per hour and 85 victims of gun violence per day all across the nation. Reportedly, legal weapons have been used to commit the nation's deadliest massacres in recent times.
This horrific incident has lawmakers talking now about passing more restrictive gun laws that will potentially ban the sale of semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines, as well as requiring background checks for those who purchase guns in person and online. They realize it will be a fight and, once again, they are targeting President Barack Obama as the one who should lead them into battle against the National Rifle Association and other gun rights advocates.
We agree with President Obama who told the heartbroken Newtown community that more should be done and that there's a role for them and others to ensure that stronger gun control laws are passed. We also agree with those who are pushing for greater mental health services in hopes of identifying potential perpetrators before they have time to massacre people anywhere else in the country. It may have made a difference for 20-year-old Adam Lanza who died when he turned his gun on himself after murdering his mother and the children at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
We recommend legislators take a look at our South Capitol Street Amendment Act, which expands mental health services for young people. Getting individuals the mental health care they need early on could save lives like the four teens that were murdered, along with six others who were wounded, by five young men who engaged in a killing spree using semi-automatic weapons on South Capitol Street in Southeast in 2010.
America is a violent nation, but we can do more to protect ourselves from ourselves.