The National Rifle Association provided a service to America by placing a price tag on easy access to semi-automatic guns.
To the surprise of no one, NRA leader Wayne LaPierre’s proposed solution to mass shootings would require more guns. Reacting to the massacre of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, LaPierre proposed placing an armed guard in every U.S. school.
That the NRA proposal would not always be effective is not a solid argument against it. There are no solutions that will eliminate such tragedies. The best we can hope for is to reduce their frequency.
Estimates vary, but the cost of placing an armed guard in every U.S. school would approach $18 billion a year.
A proposed reauthorization of the assault-weapons ban would limit access to semi-automatic guns — those that fire a bullet with every pull of the trigger — and expand background checks. It also would ban most magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. The law would cost taxpayers little. Such laws have been effective in curtailing both mass shootings and suicides in other countries.
The implicit question LaPierre posed to taxpayers is thus simple. Is easy access to semi-automatic guns and extended magazines a right that’s worth $18 billion a year?
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