Sunday, February 14 , 2016, 4:35 pm | Fair 77º

Tim Durnin: Today Is the Day for Meaningful, Radical Gun-Control Reform

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Watching the events unfold at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., I am stunned, saddened, angered and empowered. Never has the prospect for real reformation of our nation’s gun laws been more possible or necessary. In the words of those protesting outside the White House on the evening of the shootings, “Today is the day!” Today has been the day for a long time.

I’ve never owned a gun, and except for some significant and historical shift in political forces, I suspect I never will. I am not a hunter; I do not feel threatened in my own home and am not so saturated in the rhetoric and fears of right-wing conservatives that I feel the need to secure assault weapons and high-capacity magazines under my bed. The mother of Adam Lanza was not so enamored.

The blood of every child, the blood of every educator at Sandy Hook Elementary is splattered across her soul. It is her ignorance, her fear, driven by some crazed apocalyptic vision, that are ultimately responsible for this profound and senseless tragedy. Any parent who willingly takes their mentally ill child on “shooting adventures” is as sick, or more so, than the child they bare. They are also equally culpable.

I am disheartened by the commentators who define this mass shooting as just one in a long line of shootings that continue to plague our nation. It is not the same. It is not the same at all. This was not a peer seeking some sick kind of revenge. This was an adult shooting children more than a decade younger than him. This represents a new and disturbing moment in our collective history.

It is a moment driven by and given authority to by fear. It is a familiar fear, one clearly articulated by the National Rifle Association and the “God Bless America” Tea Party. It is the fear so effectively animated by Sarah Palin and echoed by mindless conservative pundits like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. It is a lie.

Guns kill people. Far more often guns fell victims not kill criminals. They kill family members, they kill friends, they kill children and co-workers. Soon after the shooting in Newton, gun enthusiasts were calling for armed security on all campuses and posing the disturbing question, “What if the teachers were armed?” That’s like suggesting we need to build more McDonalds to end childhood obesity. More guns will never be the answer to reducing gun violence.

The answer is simple enough. The question is whether our collective will is strong enough to make the changes necessary for real reform. It will take more than limiting the size of the magazine or clip; it will take more than background checks and required safety training.

Gun owners need to be held accountable for the crimes committed with the use of their precious firearms. If a gun owner’s gun is involved in a shooting, he or she needs to be held responsible for the consequences of the use of that gun. In that scenario, responsible gun ownership will take on a whole new meaning.

I have not met anyone who has not been deeply moved and saddened by the events in Newton. I don’t know anyone who has not had tears well as the stories of those beautiful lives lost have been told. We mourn the loss of 26 beautiful, incredible, wonderful and profoundly innocent lives. I pray the countless tears that have been and will be shed will not be wiped away and forgotten as so many have in the past. I pray those tears and the many yet to come will wash away our apathy and clear our vision.

Today is the day for meaningful and radical gun control reform.

— Tim Durnin is an independent consultant for nonprofit organizations, schools and small business. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Click here to read his previous columns.

» on 12.20.12 @ 09:20 AM

You are so off the mark, its tragic. The same day of the shooting in CT there was a “knife slashing” in China. There, a disturbed peson slashed 22 elementary school kids with a knife. The weapon is simply the medium through which an evil person (or mentally ill, if you prefer) carries out an evil plan. This tragedy has nothing to do wiht knives.

» on 12.20.12 @ 12:37 PM

Dear Mr. Dirn

Americans, according to criminologist Gary Kleck, use guns 2.5 million times each year for self-defense, usually just brandishing the weapon. (The attacker is wounded in less than 8 percent of self-defense cases.) Of the 2.5 million, 400,000 claim that but for their gun they would have been dead. If we’re serious about “doing something,” we might consider shifting the odds in favor of the good guys.

People that want to be destructive will always find a way… matches and gasoline work pretty well, too.

» on 12.20.12 @ 01:10 PM

Mr Durnin,
Since you, by your own admission, are basically ignorant about guns, you should check your facts before you go off on an emotional rant to take away our means of self defense like you have done here. If you do check, you will see that thousands of otherwise defenseless people save their lives and the lives of others each year with their firearms; in locations where laws have changed to allow concealed carry permits violent crime has diminished; the numbers of mass shootings have gone down from that of years ago.

And just remember, if what your point about guns being the cause of tragedies like Newtown, then why, with hundreds of millions of guns in the country, are the numbers of gun homicides so low by comparison?

It is too easy to satisfy the need to “do something” if that something is to simply pass another law to add to the myriad of laws already on the books without looking for the root cause of a tragedy like this.

» on 12.20.12 @ 07:25 PM

Don’t be fooled by this anti-gun diatribe. In fact, it is a thinly disguised political hit piece against conservatives and opponents of his leftist ideology. The gratuitous mudslinging attack against Palin, Tea Party and other conservative commentators confirm his true motives. Obama and his Democrat minions who have not done one thing in their 4 years to implement his holy grail of gun control, somehow escapes his criticism.

I wish he would stick to writing insipid stories about his daughter’s soccer team (which no one cares about except for his family) and leave the politics to people who have more than a 1st grade education in public policy issues.

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