“We can’t tolerate this any more. These tragedies must end and to end them we must change,” President Obama told a prayer vigil in Newtown.
Presumably Obama plans some sort of reform, although he has not yet made any specific proposals. Paul Krugman suggests that reform is easier than most people imagine. I am not so sure.
Unlike in Britain, where the killings in Hungerford and Dunblane made legal reform popular, America’s gun culture is deeply embedded. It is not just the constitutional ‘right to bear arms’ or the lobbying power of the National Rifle Association, but also a lingering frontier mentality.
In the New Yorker, Adam Gopnik despairs of America’s gun lobby:
The people who fight and lobby and legislate to make guns regularly available are complicit in the murder of those children. They have made a clear moral choice: that the comfort and emotional reassurance they take from the possession of guns, placed in the balance even against the routine murder of innocent children, is of supreme value.Meanwhile, America’s gun culture continues to leave the rest of the world puzzled. These 20 astounding gun ads can only add to our puzzlement.