Suspected terrorists can’t fly on planes, but they can buy guns. The feds can track sales of fertilizer, but not semi-automatic rifles. Brick-and-mortar gun dealers perform background checks, but online ones often don’t. These are three of the many odd aspects of the gun trade that are now being reconsidered after the massacre of 20 children and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Here are five potential steps that gun owners, gun vendors, manufacturers, law enforcement and legislators might consider to stem mass-casualty gun violence — without shredding the Second Amendment, and without forcing gun owners to give back their weapons. No one measure will eradicate such attacks: Perfect security is an illusion, and one easily used to snatch away people’s liberties. None of the proposed fixes are foolproof. Each of them comes with the potential to seriously backfire. But after Sandy Hook, it’s time to a take a fresh look at the state of America’s firearms market.