President Barack Obama | AP file photo
Updated: January 17, 2013 6:31AM
We don’t have to cower in the face of pervasive gun violence or say nothing can be done.
We don’t have to murmur that the battle’s been lost because the Supreme Court has ruled, because the nation is awash in firearms, because the National Rifle Association and other pro-gun groups are too powerful.
We don’t have to tiptoe around the debate on American gun laws, as President Barack Obama did in remarks Friday after the horrific shooting at a Connecticut elementary school that left 27 dead, including 20 children.
We can take on a challenge that seems insurmountable and prevail.
It will be a long, hard slog, but we can do it.
We can never stamp out gun violence entirely, but we can make America a safer place to live.
We don’t have to live in a nation where an Oregon mall shooting amid thousands of Christmas shoppers is nearly forgotten just three days later, swallowed into oblivion by another, much larger mass shooting on the other side of the country.
We don’t have to accept children shot on our streets week after week or rampaging gunman terrorizing theaters and schools.
Yes, the pro-gun forces have been winning lately.
But their promises of a safer America based on more and more guns are proving to be empty.
Big change often starts with small battles, and we need to get aggressive about those smaller battles now. We can approve an assault weapons ban. We can write a stiff concealed carry law in Illinois in response to a judicial ruling tossing out our outright ban. And we should keep going, developing new solutions such as greater limits on gun purchases and a universal background check for gun buyers. We could do more to keep guns from people with mental illnesses.
As Tom Mauser, father of a student killed at Columbine High, says, “If you don’t start now, you’re not going to get anywhere.”