December 20th, 2012
12:24 AM ET

The solution to gun violence is clear

By Fareed Zakaria

Announcing Wednesday that he would send proposals on reducing gun violence in America to Congress, President Obama mentioned a number of sensible gun-control measures. But he also paid homage to the Washington conventional wisdom about the many and varied causes of this calamity — from mental health issues to school safety. His spokesman, Jay Carney, had said earlier that this is “a complex problem that will require a complex solution.” Gun control, Carney added, is far from the only answer.

In fact, the problem is not complex, and the solution is blindingly obvious.

Read the full Washington Post column here

Topics: United States

soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. James

    I think Fareed is correct except for his comment on help for mentally disturbed people. Health insurance companies limit payments to only the worst cases. We have hundreds of thousands of very troubled people who get no attention. Many end up in prisons where they don't belong. Tens of thousands are homeless. Most families don't have the money for treatment to pay for family members who are troubled.
    Even if there were a ban on assault weapons, the country will still be awash with them for decades to come and those who want to have them will get them. Our main problem is mental health. Too many of us are sick

    December 20, 2012 at 8:10 am | Reply
    • Amit-Atlanta-USA

      Quite true James, quite true. Yes, we're all living in a sick society today and we're going to have to inure ourselves to it!

      December 20, 2012 at 11:23 am | Reply
  2. 100 % ETHIO

    Well, their must be some past stigmas attached to the current violence reactions. Some might say, why this crime happened here?
    Why the shooter chose this location?

    Historically, more than 99% of current Americans has been brought as SLAVES from East/South Europe, the Great Britain.
    Each ethnic groups have their own secret-seems agendas.
    Some of them, they are just CONFUSED against to whom they are going to take revenge.
    The only ethnic group who came forward to take revenge-legally, is Jew against Nazis. This has been approved by INTERNATIONAL LAW, for some time.

    So, what is Mental illness has to do with the crime that has been INTENTIONALLY committed?
    Gun control does not stop crimes, but it will make it more worst and people will find other secret methods, that could be difficult for Law Enforcement Agents. Such as, bio-chemical substances.

    Remember, it is not easy task to catch/stop drug curtails. It will be also difficult to stop Black-Market Weapons.

    So, what is the deal to create peace among American Citizens?
    Well, the answer is simple, although it affects those who came after Great Britain.

    1) Everyone who reside and would like to enter American soil, must be Christian. The Holy Bible said, "Love your enemies...",

    2) The past negative things must be re-setted. And those who exercising it will be punished by Law,

    3) If you do not like the above mentioned, do not spoil Americans', let the new Law deal with you.

    December 20, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Reply
    • Mickey 1313

      If they mandated christianity, I would start slaughtering fools. Faith in false gods is one of the factors killing our society. Christians muslems and jews are all weak minded cult members, brainwashed and indoctrinated into a way of life counter to the natural order.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:40 am | Reply
  3. BJ

    No cilivan should have an assault weapon, if they want to shoot one they should join the military young and old. Any person or persons owning one should be punished by lethal injection if the. weapon is used on civilans

    December 20, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Reply
  4. birdog51

    Another inept and biased analysis Zakari, based on hand-picked stats that purposely deceive. I can easily offer a sampling of stats that disproves your claims in the Washington Post. Switzerland: 0.7 murders per 100,000 people; 45.7 guns owned per 100 people. Norway: 0.6 murders per 100,000 people; 31.3 guns per 100 people.
    Guns aren’t the issue here: culture is. The main problem in the US is urban drug & gang wars that account for the lion’s share of our murder rate of 4.2 per 100K even though gun ownership is the highest in the world at 88.8 guns per 100 people; most of these guns are held by law abiding citizens in rural areas where the murder rate is dwarfed by big city violence. Currently, much of the drug war murders spill over from violent cartel and gang struggles in Mexico and Central Aerica. For example, Mexico manages 16.9 murders per 100,000 people even though gun ownership is a piddling 15 guns per 100 people. With this said, can you really prove that confiscation of guns from law abiding citizens will reduce violent death? The President is right and the problem is complex: you’re simply too ignorant to see why. Educate yourself!

    December 21, 2012 at 12:32 am | Reply
  5. More solutions

    Gun control is one measure, but protecting schools is another – If your defences – doors barricades are not going to protect against bullets then no need to have them at all.

    In addition to gun control what you need is:

    An effective alarm system
    Lock down technology to keep those inside safe and protected from bullets
    Emergency drills
    On site security officials who are trained to use weapons and are instructed to use them without retrictions to protect lives

    Of course attackers change their tactics- but secure your schools like you secure military installations.

    Which is more important? Which is more precious? Your children or Fort Knox?

    December 21, 2012 at 4:34 am | Reply
  6. It's Not Just Schools

    It's not just schools!! What about everywhere else???

    December 21, 2012 at 8:56 am | Reply
    • More solutions

      Sure, shopping malls, cinemas, etc.

      Short term : reduce the number of assualt rifles and increase the number of good guys with guns.


      Short term – it's too bad that you have to lock down like the military.

      Long term – how about traking devices on guns like for dangerous criminals?

      December 24, 2012 at 2:01 am | Reply
  7. j. von hettlingen

    Indeed, Fareed, what you lack in America today is courage. But on the other hand does it take courage to change one's political views?
    Many supporters of the Second Amendment have dismissed calls for tighter controls and maintained the issue were more of a mental health problem than a gun control problem. Yet by locking up those mentally ill wouldn't solve the the problem neither. Restricting gun ownership would be much feasible.

    December 21, 2012 at 9:00 am | Reply
  8. HenriK

    While the firearms situation is complex, I have often wondered why the U.S. simply doesn't treat firearms use and ownership just like we treat motor vehicle use and ownership. Both can be used for lethal purposes. 1; If one buys a firearm, why shouldn't it be registered with the state – just like we do with motor vehicles. 2; If one wants to use a firearm, why shouldn't the user get user's license from the state following a demonstration that one has at least a rudimentary ability to use a firearm properly – just like we do when one gets a driver's license. 3; As a condition for owning a firearm, why shouldn't a user be able to show that one has an appropriate liability insurance policy (or contribute into a state fund in lieu of insurance) – just like we require for car ownership. 4; Why shouldn't laws be strengthened relative to the misuse of a firearm with appropriate penalties – just like the laws relative to hit and run, driving while under the influence, etc. and just like those that now exist for improper and/or dangerous motor vehicle use. 5; Why shouldn't law enforcement agencies ought to be empowered to prosecute firearms offenses vigorously – just like local police do for driving offenses.

    Why wouldn't such an approach work? Having such a regime handled by the states might partially satisfy the gun rights advocates and would approximate the existing motor vehicle process as well as allow for appropriate state variations. After all, Montana and Wyoming are very different from heavily urbanized states like California and New York. Moreover, no one would be denied the right to own and use a firearm without an unusually good cause, hopefully satisfying the Supreme Court’s Heller decision's 'reasonable requirements' provisions.

    Assault-type weapons are a category of their own and probably ought to be prohibited outright, just like some types of motor vehicles are prohibited from the public roads.

    Implementing what I have described wouldn't be easy and would require a decade or two to have real effect. I suspect, however, that such a regime would be helpful in curbing the kind of gross violence we have seen in the last few years. Don't we have to start somewhere to implement some long-term changes in the kind of society we have in the U.S.?

    December 21, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Reply
    • Erec

      those are all interesting (and possibly very useful) changes to current "gun-control" laws. However criminals do not follow the law. Chicago and New York have some of the most restricitve gun laws in the U.S., but do not have lower rates of gun violence than other large cities. The shooter adam lanza did not own any firearms, he stole them from his mother whom was also his first victim. And further "assualt" type weapons are very rarely used in the commission of most crimes, so why are they always the first to come under scrutiny for a ban? you could easily make the case for banning motor vehicles as more people die every year from accidents, yet we don't because we know its not the inanimate objects fault that deaths occur.

      January 3, 2013 at 7:38 am | Reply
  9. James Rau

    we all have responsibilities living in a free society! remember when it was standard to grow up getting a ass whooping for getting out of line. did you really behave because of a sense of right or wrong or, Ill be honest, did we learn to behave for fear of that ass whooping. Lets all be honest with each other and realize we as a society, do not focus enough on raising our children, not just being their friends, but spending time day to day to socially enlighten them. I snoop through my kids things all the time. they can have 100% independence when I feel i have done my job and believe they can behave, and be productive members of society. If one of my children did what these murderous cowards have or tried, I would be the failure. I still believe the parents of the columbine school shooting should have went to jail. they were not parenting obviously when their kids built pipe bombs in their garages. maybe this would have sent a message and stopped some of this non-parenting. Maybe the bottom feeder newscasters blaming everything on the very guns that protect them should report on some parenting statistics, now verse, 25 years ago. That may be enlightening.

    December 22, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Reply
  10. More solutions

    See the warning signs:

    December 24, 2012 at 2:03 am | Reply

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