Since the massacre at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School, many are wondering whether this tragedy might finally provoke action on guns.
The answer is, it could. The reason may surprise gun-control activists.
A post-Newtown examination of our gun laws would be the country’s first such effort since the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision in D.C. v. Heller, which struck down the District’s handgun ban and affirmed an individual’s constitutional right to bear arms. The case, decided by the court’s conservative bloc, was originally viewed as a setback for advocates of gun safety. But embracing the ruling could actually create a new paradigm for gun control.
The gun debate of the past two decades has devolved into a permanent tug-of-war between the National Rifle Association (NRA) and advocates of gun safety. One side has viewed the Second Amendment as absolute; the other has tried to pretend that it doesn’t exist. The result is a failure to find any consensus, even as one mass shooting after another underscores the need for sensible reform.