Following the terrible massacre of innocents students and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., immediate pressure was put on Congress to do something about the terrible problem of guns being misused in society.
Several months later, that pressure has crashed up against a seawall that is part oppostion to gun control, and part realization that there is not a lot to be done without bowdlerizing the Second Amendment.
Everyone agrees that there are some people that just should not have access to guns. The problem is, how do you identify them and screen them and prevent them from having guns without infringing on the rights of the law abiding and responsible people who want to have guns?
We can and should make background checks more effective by providing access to criminal and mental health records. We can and should require background checks necessary for all gun sales.
But there is a vast sea of illegal guns in society, guns that have been already purchased by so-called "straw men," or stolen, or passed around from criminal to criminal. There are guns that have been in responsible families for years that pass into the hands of irresponsible family members.
No amount of new regulation on legal gun transactions is going to affect this illegal trafficking.
Government should do what it can to plug up the obvious holes in our gun laws, but we must recognize that no law is going to stop someone who is determined to get a gun by illegal means, and from using those guns in horrible ways.