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Niall O'Dowd Headshot

What Obama Should Have Said in Tucson but Lacked the Courage to

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My friends we live in a country where a mentally deranged man may have access to a firearm and ammunition as easily as he may access getting a license for his dog. We have been afraid for too long to address the consequences of this. How many more Virginia Techs or Tucsons will it take before we wake up to the reality? This is not about finger pointing, it is about seriously disturbed individuals getting access to firearms.

It is not even about violent rhetoric. Actually it comes down to one key point. If you think it is okay for a delusional loner as in the Virginia Tech and Tucson killings to have free access to guns then don't hear me out. But if you agree with me then you know it is like offering a book of matches to an arsonist, a bottle of Scotch whiskey to an alcoholic .

How many more 9-year old girls or innocent students have to die while we refuse to discuss this elephant in the room? We are not even talking about banning guns, just taking sensible precautions to ensure that maniacs do not get access to them.

Some immediate practical steps would surely include a 24-hour waiting period while every applicant is checked out by state and local police as well as the FBI. This should be the law of the land. Such a waiting period and background check would surely have prevented the Tucson massacre.

If we hire a gardener or nanny we make background checks. If we hire a new employee we seek references. Should the act of buying a gun, a lethal weapon, be any less open to scrutiny? Of course not and that is a practical hard headed reality. Yet is is one we seem afraid to embrace and to face up to.

I challenge leaders on both sides in Congress to introduce such a bill in the coming weeks. This is not some slippery slope to taking guns away, it is a practical, real life decision that as far as we can ensure, psychopaths should not have access to weapons.

And then parents of little nine-year-old girls can live their lives, free of the fear that some madman can kill their daughter.

Thank you.