In the wake of the tragic deaths of 20 6-and 7-year-old children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Conn., will we finally find the political will needed to pass meaningful gun reform? I hope so. But what do I mean when I say "meaningful gun reform?"
The Harvard Injury Control Research Center has found substantial evidence to support that more guns in circulation mean more homicides. This holds true whether you compare countries or compare states. So perhaps an annual cap on the number of guns that can be produced or imported into the United States? Even at the risk of raising gun prices, this is a worthwhile effort.
Last year, economist Richard Florida studied correlations between gun deaths and other social indicators. While Florida found that "higher populations, more stress, more immigrants and more mental illness were not correlated with more gun violence," he also found that "states with stricter gun laws appear to have fewer gun related deaths."
The most effective of these laws were "assault weapons bans, mandatory safe storage laws, and mandatory use of trigger locks." I think these sound like promising suggestions on a national level.
Then there are the more obvious changes needing made: eliminating loopholes in federal background checks, appointing a director of the ATF, providing the funding and staffing needed by the ATF to effectively handle its appointed tasks, eliminating online sales of firearms, regulation of gun shows and private sales of firearms (which account for 40 percent of firearms sales) and restricting sales of large magazines to private citizens.
We can't be afraid to take on the NRA. It's time we put the over 100 children who are killed in gun related violence every year ahead of a powerful Washington lobby.