That old NRA slogan: “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people” has reappeared at length in the Sun Herald Sound Off column lately. That slogan evades the real issue. Its premise is that a madman without a gun will kill anyway. Probably true. But he can’t kill 17 people in 6 minutes. Nor can he kill 45 people that are 100 feet away from him. He can with a gun.
This country has the highest murder rate in the world; not because we have more madmen, but because our madmen have access to guns. They are orders of magnitude more lethal than any other weapon that a layman can obtain. That’s the reason that soldiers carry them instead of swords or clubs.