After recent tragedies involving mass murders on a college campus in Virginia, an Army base in Texas, a congressional constituent event at a shopping center in Arizona, and a movie theater in Colorado, one might have assumed the public had become numb to horrendous and senseless acts of killing. If so, one would have been wrong. The public was not prepared for the brutal and cold-blooded murder of 20 first-grade school children and six teachers and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 14, 2012.
Following the all-too-familiar emotional stages of shock, grief, and anger, many members of the public and elected officials turned to the issue of how to prevent such tragedies in the future. Two main questions quickly became the focus of policy makers.