Statement by Dr. Diana Zuckerman regarding tragic gun violence in Newtown

The tragic murders in Newtown are a result of two failures that must be fixed. The first is the widespread availability of assault rifles and similar weapons that were designed to kill large numbers of people in a short period of time. They do not belong in our homes and they do not belong in our schools. The NRA proposal to have armed police officers in every school, or to train and arm teachers and principals – these ideas show a complete lack of understanding of the problem and of feasible solutions. There aren’t enough police in this country to put one in each school. And, what are the chances that most elementary school teachers or administrators could be trained to unlock and use an automatic weapon within seconds, essentially without taking time to think? That is what would be required to effectively defend themselves or their schools from an intruder with a Bushmaster rifle.

The second failure is the lack of affordable and effective mental health services, as well as the need for parents to be able to require such services for their children. Current standards regarding proof that a person is dangerous to himself or others are inadequate to protect our communities.

A related failure is the lack of adequate background checks for all firearm sales.

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