One year after Sandy Hook

It’s a matter of time before we see a similar tragedy

A year ago last Saturday (Dec. 14), a madman walked into an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., and opened fire, murdering 20 children and six adults before turning a gun on himself. It all took 11 minutes.

Americans were horrified and outraged that Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old mentally ill shooter, had access to his mother’s arsenal. He’d killed her before going on his rampage. Shortly after the killings, a Gallup poll indicated that a majority of Americans favored stricter gun regulations.

So, what has changed in the past year when it comes to gun laws?

Federal lawmakers failed to expand background checks on purchasers, although some states, including California, tightened certain regulations. However, the majority of states that passed gun laws actually loosened them. According to analysis in The New York Times, of the 109 laws that states have passed, 70 eased restrictions and expanded the rights of gun owners.

Meanwhile, a follow-up survey from Gallup this October indicates that support for stricter control is waning, down to 49 percent.

Gun-advocate propaganda claims that arming teachers is a viable solution to school shootings. But that’s preposterous given the firepower that Lanza and Columbine High School shooters Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris (who killed 13 and wounded many others in 1999) were carrying during two of the worst school shootings in American history.

The bigger picture in the year following the tragedy in Newtown is that close to 200 American children younger than 12 have died from gunshots. Advocates for stricter gun laws vow to continue their battle in 2014, but they are up against a very powerful lobby in the form of the National Rifle Association and other deep-pocketed pro-gun groups. It will be an uphill battle.

Newtown, Conn., is roughly the population of Paradise. It’s a tight-knit community that was hit hard by the Sandy Hook tragedy, and the fact is, as it stands, similar school shootings are bound to happen. It’s just a matter of time. If our lawmakers don’t act, we can only hope it doesn’t happen in our backyard.