I can't help but be a bit taken aback by the hypocrisy here. You say in one breath that stricter regulation or bans on guns would help but in the next breath you say that the various types of media don't play a part.
In essence what you are saying that it's fine to give the things you as a law abiding citizen enjoy, legally without hurting anyone, a pass. However, those things that other law abiding citizens enjoy, legally without hurting anyone, those need further scrutiny and regulation.
Sure you can say if he didn't have the guns he wouldn't have been able to kill as many people but then I could just as easily say if he wasn't inspired to do so by the previous Batman movies maybe he wouldn't have killed anyone at all.
The fact of the matter is we would both be playing a game of "what if" and neither of us know for sure if regulation on either of those things would have matter one single iota. I personally am of the belief that you shouldn't restrict the liberties of the vast vast law abiding majority in a blind attempt to possibly have a small chance of dissuading the next lunatic.
Sick people are going to do sick things. If he didn't have guns he would have had access to bombs or the 30+ homemade grenades they found in his house. You want to ban fertilizer and gasoline next?
Benjamin Franklin once said that those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither. This is especially true given the reactions I've seen stemming from the Aurora shootings. If people want to line up to give away their personal rights, liberties, and freedoms in a misguided attempt at safety I say fine let them. However, please leave mine alone I like them just the way they are.
Your fertilizer/gas comparing does not really translate very well since they have some very "peaceful" main purposes but guns have only two "almost peaceful" purposes... (recreation and "pest control")
And if you want to live by Benjamin Franklin's words I truly hope you don't live in a country since you already given up freedom by then....
You get a driver license to be allowed to drive a car(you give up liberty of driving to be safe that you are somewhat safer on the road),
you go to work to get money to be allowed to get food (you give up the liberty to do anything to be safe to get fed),
you (if you live in any half modern country) are under some surveillance so you wont do anything that breaks the law by that you given up privacy and liberty for security....
But gun control is more likely just a part in the solution to start with, best is education and/or banging some sense in to people.
You don't need a guns, you need intelligent people whom understand that since you don't have a gun they don't either....
But why am I arguing it probably wont change anyones mind and "Don't argue whit idiots, they drag you down to their level and beat you whit experience.".... =D
The main problem with the whole, "you don't need a gun, you need intelligent people who understand that since you don't have a gun they don't [need to have a gun] either" is that America has an incredibly massive problem with gangs and a huge border through which illegal guns can pour into the country. In other words, gun control can keep guns out of the hands of law abiding citizens, but it can't really do anything about the criminals, who are the ones you're worried about in the first place.
That being said, there are several things you and other gun-control advocates fail to take into account, which I think are worth elaborating just in case anyone feels like reading a massive wall of text:
1) The American government was founded on libertarian principles.
The primary concern of the founding fathers, as can be seen in our systems of checks and balances, was to prevent the government from falling into autocratic tyranny. Our laws are designed first and foremost to protect the liberties of individual citizens from being infringed upon by the government. There is virtually nothing in our constitution about the role of the government being to maximize the safety of society or to promote the greatest good.
While there is no reason why the role of government cannot change over time, we should hardly change its role lightly. Every new law, by its very nature, constitutes a restriction on personal liberty. Obviously we find some liberties more important than others, so each time we make a law we need to measure the security/good gained versus the liberty lost.
2) Our system of laws have evolved around punishment, not prevention.
The prevention of crimes is essentially a secondary pursuit, and is only permissible when it does not infringe on personal liberty. In other words, when a person has broken the social contract by committing a crime, that person has forfeited his/her liberties and will be imprisoned. It is far more difficult to justify violating a person's liberties before they've committed a crime.
3) The right to defend one's self is an extremely important personal liberty.
There is no possible way that our government could support the principle that citizens need to give up their right to defend themselves and rely upon the government. The existence of a police force does not negate an individual citizen's right to defend him/herself.
4) The restriction of the means to exercise a right is tantamount to a violation of that right.
As supreme court case after supreme court case has proven, the government cannot get around the first amendment through censorship. You cannot ban someone's book from being sold without violating their freedom of speech. You cannot tell a person, "oh you can say whatever you want, but if you start making pamphlets, or try to publish a book, or try to by a spot on television, we'll arrest you." That really isn't any different from telling someone that they have the right to defend themselves against an armed intruder, but only if they use their fists.
There are, of course, laws regulating people's ability to express themselves. You aren't allowed to plagiarize or slander people any more than you are allowed to shoot people. There should be general laws regulating how firearms are purchased and used, just as there should be laws about publication and personal liability. But that is very different from banning guns or books completely.
5) While gun control advocates are currently focused upon stricter regulations, many of them hold the latter as their long term goal.
This does not mean that we should dismiss regulations altogether. The slippery slope is only made slippery by the complacency of the public will. However, the gun-control supporters who advocate banning many firearms altogether are a detriment to their own cause, and unfortunately their voices are often louder than the reasonable, as is so often the case.
6) Cases like this and Columbine are the exception to the rule.
Gun violence in America is almost entirely associated with gang violence, and the majority of the guns they use are obtained illegally.
From the National Institute of Justice's website ( http://www.nij.gov/nij/topics/crime/gun-violence/aquired.htm ):
National Institute of Justice:
NIJ's earliest firearms studies uncovered who owns legal and illegal guns and how illegal gun trafficking is tied to juvenile gun violence and other crimes such as drug dealing and gang crime. Highlights of these studies:
Many juveniles and young adults can easily obtain illegal guns; most claim to carry them for self-defense.
A study of persons arrested for a wide range of crimes showed that a higher percentage of arrestees than regular citizens own firearms. Arrestees are also more likely to be injured or killed by gun violence. Within a community, this amounts to an identifiable group of "career" offenders.
Surveys of offenders have found that they prefer newer, high-quality guns and may steal or borrow them; most, however, acquire guns "off the street" through the illicit gun market.
If you think the gun violence in America is all taking place in the suburbs, you've completely lost touch with reality. What's more is that these gangs get virtually all of their guns from the same cartels who supply them their drugs. Believe it or not, AK-47s have become common place in the worst neighborhoods, though they are not often used.
7) Gun control that merely focuses on regulating the legal sale of firearms won't be nearly enough to stop the predominant majority of gun violence.
To really stop the problem one would have to:
7.1) Close down and fortify the border.
As stated above, the gang-bangers get their guns the same place they get their drugs, from the cartels.
7.2) There are too many guns already on the streets.
To gather these up we would have to significantly reduce civil liberties and establish a temporary police state in certain neighborhoods so that the police can raid and thoroughly search these neighborhoods for guns without the need of warrants.
7.3) As these two points suggest, the problem of illegal guns is pretty much inseparable from the problem of illegal drugs.
The gangs compete for turf to sell the drugs, and thus need the guns, the guns are where the drugs are. One cannot really eliminate the guns without eliminating the gangs. Thus the gangs would probably have many shoot-outs with police. In some neighborhoods it would be full-on urban warfare. It might even require the use of the national guard against the civilian populace.
Winning the war on illegal guns would require the exact same things as winning the war on drugs. This is an upsetting truth that many liberals who dislike the war on drugs don't want to hear. (And no, I'm not an arch-conservative. I actually favor the legalization of marijuana, though I don't touch the stuff personally. Once again, I'm just pointing out an inconsistency.)
7.4) Obviously this would require a lot more effort than people are willing to put into the problem.
In fact, it would probably be viewed as racist by those on the left, for just as the war on drugs has caused the imprisonment of many black and Latino Americans, so would the crackdown on illegal firearms.
8) However, there is also a sort of racism on the part of the gun control movement itself.
Not because it is concerned with preventing predominantly white, middle class Americans from purchasing firearms, but because it only seems concerned with the gun violence in America when it affects white middle-class suburbia.
While the DOJ tries to avoid including race in its data, I can certainly tell you that the 17-year-olds in the statistics above aren't young white teenagers.
Many more young black and Latino men die every day from the use of illegal guns. Their deaths dwarf things like the Aurora shooting. But the gun control advocates don't seem to be concerned with the fact that waiting periods and other regulations don't have much of an impact on these deaths, which are largely due to illegal guns.
Gun control advocates only seem to be concerned with statistically rare events. They try to pass laws further limiting how we can legally purchase guns even though the majority of gun deaths are gang related. Rather than facing the true epidemic plaguing the underprivileged portions of our society they only seem concerned with preventing the deaths of middle class white people at the hands of the occasional madman.
9) Gun ownership doesn't necessarily have a direct correlation to gun deaths:
Switzerland has one of the highest gun ownership rates in the world, with somewhere between 1.2 to 3 million guns in the private residences of its approximately 8 million citizens. In 2006 there were 34 recorded murders or attempted murders with a gun, representing a firearm homicide rate of 1 per 250,000. (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_politics_in_Switzerland#cite_note-Small_Arms_Survey_2007-0)
The reason why America's statistics are so high is because of all of the illegal guns, and the gang violence. The reason why Switzerland's statistics are so low is because it is a wealth nation with very little poverty. Poverty creates crime, not guns. The vast majority of the gun deaths in America are committed with illegal guns as part of gang/drug related activities.
10) While it is true that guns do not have a peaceful purpose like fertilizer, the Oklahoma City Bombing killed 168 people.
Way more than Columbine and this nut-job combined. Bombs are a LOT more destructive than guns. And we do regulate these chemicals more since the OKC bombing. However, we don't ban their use. We monitor who buys them.
11) It is the monitoring and not the banning of gun sales that helps catch these people before they commit their heinous acts.
As I've said elsewhere, banning guns outright will just cause people to get them on the black market, but requiring licenses, more thorough background checks, and more comprehensive monitoring systems will allow us to spot the crazies before they can carry out their plans.
12) One cannot argue against hardline anti-terrorism policies like the Patriot Act while arguing for gun control without being hypocritical.
Like it or not, it's things like the Patriot Act that help prevent terrorism. But it's kind of funny how gun-control advocates, who tend to be liberals, often abhor the Patriot Act, even though both gun control and the Patriot Act are supported by the same "common sense" arguments: trading a little liberty for more security. Having some supercomputer search my text messages for key words doesn't affect me nearly as much as being told that I can't buy certain items.
So the government can take away my most efficient means of defending myself or rising up in the case of tyranny, but an automated program searching through my electronic correspondence is big brother coming to get me? Well how can I fight big brother when he's taken all of my guns?
Is having somewhat intrusive security at an airport really so much worse a violation of liberty than preventing people from buying firearms?
Is habeas corpus really so sacrosanct that it must be applied to incredibly dangerous enemies of the state who aren't even citizens, but the 2nd Amendment can be cut down as much as we want to prevent some loon from shooting up a public place every five years or so?
[I'm not a conspiracy theorist. I don't think gun control is part of some plan for world domination. Nor do I think the fact that we allow the NSA to monitor us means that I'll eventually be arrested by secret police. I'm pointing out an inconsistency.]