This is a complicated subject with irrational feelings expressed by both sides. Many state that those prone to violence will find a way to commit violent acts. These are often people who are suffering from a mental illness and who are tortured by negative angry thoughts. We need to take responsibility as a nation for not having adequate mental health care….which even the new affordable healthcare act does not seem to adequately address.
Others assert that these violent acts would be greatly reduced if guns, especially semi automatic weapons were not so readily available. While the number of such acts might not be reduced, even if access to this type of weapon was curtailed, it is likely that at least fewer people would be harmed.
In addition to doing systematic research on the effects of total gun control, partial gun control or no gun control, there needs to be increased attention to the prevention of violent behavior. What are the effects of violent video games? What are the effects of violence on TV? The media, both television and the movie industry, curtail the use of foul language but yet they promote gory movies, sadistic scenes and even aggressive commercials. Are there any TV shows which teach morals, proper behavior, or how to handle and appropriately express anger? Perhaps we need a Mr. Rogers for adults and adolescent. Perhaps a course on “emotional management” should part of the elementary, middle and high school curriculum. Not that a simple course can change behavior, but it’s a start. Parenting classes could also be effective and a step in the right direction. Appropriate expression of anger is learned at home during the early years.
Maybe we need to bring back “Leave it to Beaver”