It appears this discussion has only recently came to be because of the mass murder incidents in the States. Truly it makes sense, just like there was a craze during the 70s and 80s with respect to our fascination and interest in serial offenders that the same would be true for these incidents. You have a story that is sensationalized and with that comes the emotional attachment of political involvement. It's never healthy for society to let politicians become the experts for large social constructs like guns.
I get the reaction, I get why someone like Giffords would be interjected into the limelight to push the anti-gun mantra. You need a mascot for this, and she's a good puppet to choose for this because of her history. Indeed, on the flipside, the gun-activists need a scapegoat to levy blame for, and the obvious choice remains media-entertainment. That puppet on its strings however has been played so much that it can't dance no more, yet they hope that dead horse can still be beaten once more.
Media involvement has been essential to human connection for the past couple decades in the States, and yet violent crime has consistently gone down (a trend that has been going on for three decades). Guns are seen as a tool of religion -- not religion in the literal sense, but in the mantra of a strong belief following. It's an integral piece of society that has been around since the dawn of our nation's seed when pilgrims landed on North American soil. This has played to its benefit, and to its detriment at times.
The gun's sole purpose was and is to inflict bodily harm and injury to a person or thing. It's a human construct incorporating metallic pieces, and relatively explosive material to propel a projectile towards a given aimpoint. Alright, I'm not here to debate the underlying means of this object for its purpose is plainly rooted in the ground, and to try to aim away from that is disingenuous in nature. The point remains the obvious: the object requires human input for its purpose to be initiated; it's not an inherently evil object, yet the conductor's input can be.
I understand the anger from a mass murder of children--the media coverage of that event being a circus for days showcases that we care about these things. I was in a Criminology class when the news came to light, and the initial reports were only a few killed. When the class was dismissed and I turned into NPR to get the latest scoops, the numbers balooned to over 20 children killed. This news turned my stomach; it made me sick. The sheer thought of a man entering a classroom with children and opening fire is simply unfathomable.
It's clear that this individual had pyschological issues, and the means of helping these individuals is shaky at best in society. The discussion didn't turn in that direction, it turned to guns. The question is why? The arguments would be that it's simpy too dificult to understand and explain the pychological issues that led to the mass murder, so labeling the weapon as the problem is clean and it's easy. The other side is that politically involved individuals have clear motives to target the banning of weapons, so an incident like this becomes a billboard for their underlying motives.
It's clear that behind these incidents that psychological issues are to blame. Within the past half-century we have closed our mental asylums and removed integral means of support. Prisons are being the de-facto means of psychological-mental-illness support which is disgraceful to the individuals involved, and the overall image of health for our society. Communities need to give ample safety nets for these individuals and help the parents of the children who face these mental illnesses. A good read that is a necessity to digest is this article about a mother struggling with her son; just how many more mothers out there are like this?
To go off track a second here, I need to remind my readers that I am not objective in this manner for I have a strong history with guns in my life. I grew up in a family who loved the outdoors and loved hunting. I received my hunting license at the age of twelve, and went hunting then after but I was still involved in watching the hunting before that age. I received a 20-gauge shotgun, and my grandfather's 30/30 Hunting Rifle which was my father's at one point. I've been hunting and shooting for over a decade now, so guns have been just another facet of my life. The question that begs an answer to me is why target me and my family?
Responsibility is one of the greatest characteristics a gun-owner is taught either by the respective family members, or by upper echelon authorities. My hunting license class was eight hours long if I recall correctly, and most of that was on safety. It's the same logic and ideas that is expressed when an individual learns to drive a vehicle. Which brings me to my main point; selective targeting. Do we punish all car owners in the States when a drunk driver, or incompetent driver takes a life? The answer to that is no, although I imagine arguments can be made with respect to insurance policies (but that's a private take by companies, not a political maneuver).
To throw out some numbers to give credence to my point, 250K children are injured from car accidents annually with 2K fatalities. The CDC notes that over 33K people overall died from vehicle related incidents. On the flipside, the CDC noted similar deaths overall from guns. For children, injuries by guns are around 1K, and deaths less than or around 400. Children are typically a poster for messages and movements, yet politics are quickly intertwined with guns only selectively.
Don't let me sway you in the direction that I believe gun violence isn't a big deal, for even hundreds of children to die from weapons is unacceptable, and even more unacceptable that tens of thousands die from guns. We need to address our culture in how it's handled, more safety training and more responsibility is key. It's about who people surround themselves with, and how much integrity and responsibility they carry with themselves. Nevertheless, I think politicians should stop politicizing the issue of guns and not selectively focus on it when a mass event happens.
Perspective is needed, release the tunnel vision and stop politicizing. Wake up. Seriously.
TL;DR Version -- Politicians are exploiting guns for their underlying motives; they selectively target the construct and ignore other larger problems facing society. Guns are only tools, the real means is addressing the handler of the tools.