December 17, 2012

Every time our country experiences a slaughter by gunfire, two things occur: Some cry for “gun control”; others, who fear incursions on their gun rights, respond that the problem is the users, not the mechanism. Yet all of us unite in revulsion in cases like this. Is there no way to do something to prevent these massacres or diminish their damage?

Let us change the battle cry from “gun control,” which is a political third rail, to something like “reducing the killing power of guns.” This puts the focus on the shooting, not on the ownership. Start with the size of ammunition magazines (a 100-round magazine was used in the Colorado theater massacre) and the lethality of the bullet itself (hollow-core bullets were apparently used in the Connecticut school massacre). Regulate just these two things — and do it now.

In the light of the slaughter of children in Connecticut, we think these reforms are passable. With 300 million gunsprotected by the Second Amendment, there is no way to prevent future outbreaks of gun violence. But we can certainly reduce the resulting carnage. Agreement is a powerful weapon. Let’s use it together and save some lives.  

Susan and Bob Meehan, Washington

The writers are, respectively, vice president of the Greater Washington Council of Churches and a member of the Dupont Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commission.