12/18/2012 10:34 am ET Updated Feb 17, 2013

First Graders' Safety vs. Second Amendment Rights: Prioritizing Our Protections and Protecting Our Priorities in the Wake of Sandy Hook

When a car careens through a notoriously dangerous intersection causing yet another wreck and neighbors discuss the need for a stop sign, no one says that having such a conversation too soon disrespects those who were injured or killed.

When a prescription drug is determined to have lethal side effects and folks propose that the FDA take immediate action to stop the marketing and sale of the drug, no one accuses them of politicizing the issue.

When people are killed in drunk driving accidents and a movement arises to tighten up laws pertaining to drinking and driving, no one accuses the bereaved mothers of being un-American when they form an organization dedicated to getting tough on the issue. No one argues that it's not the alcohol that kills, it's the drivers, or that to restrict the alcohol would infringe people's personal liberty to get their drink on.

In the wake of the unimaginable tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, we cannot simply shake our heads at the insanity of state gun laws that on the heels of such massacres -- and often seemingly in response to them -- get less restrictive rather than more; allowing guns in bars, primary schools, colleges, state parks, churches, and government buildings.

We cannot continue to sit by and allow the body count to rise while we cluck our tongues about the politics of gun control and the seemingly insurmountable strength of the gun lobby.

What's more American: Protecting children from getting shot at school or permitting some guy with little man's syndrome to feel powerful by strolling around a shopping mall while packing a pistol?

What's crazier: Refusing to do what we can to protect Americans from gun violence while going about their daily lives or refusing to curtail some bubba's desire to stockpile weapons in the end-times bunker in his basement?

A first grader's right to be safe at school should always trump a gun nut's Second Amendment "right" to stockpile weapons.

Tragedies cause people to ask questions. They propel people to take action to reduce the chance that the tragedy will be repeated. No one with any common sense can suggest that tighter gun laws will make this problem worse, not better. That there are multiple factors that contribute to gun violence is not an excuse to do nothing; and the fact that increased gun control will not completely eliminate gun violence is not an argument against it.

There can be no explanation for what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School. But neither can there can be any excuse for continuing to do nothing to address a problem that is both this obvious and obscene.