At first nothing more than an association of sportsmen, the NRA in the 1960s came under the leadership of militant gun libertarians who fought fiercely and adamantly against any and all forms of gun control, and their rhetoric was even more belligerent ("the best defense is a strong offense") in the aftermath of the assassinations of JFK, his brother Robert, and Martin Luther King. Concurrently, the ACLU came under the leadership of zealots who abetted the national movement in the 1960s to deinstitutionalize the mentally ill--to protect their "right" to live in squalor in the parks and on the streets of America. A powerful trend was thus established through the work of these very different zealots: it is now very difficult (impossible, in fact) to keep dangerous lunatics away from our loved ones. Here was an apt libertarian convergence of the left and the right to make our public places as chaotic and dangerous as possible. Striner, Richard Lincoln's Way: How Six Great Presidents Created American Power (Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, Maryland 2010) p. 181.Not all those who suffer mental illness are a danger to society. And society can't always determine all who may become so ahead of time as was the case with some of the recent mass murderers. But we have to do better at least to try. And we can make it more difficult to obtain access to weapons of mass murder.
I'll be posting more on this book I quoted, the title of which is a little misleading with regard to "American Power" (he's not talking militarily). I just throw this out for thought as we continue to mourn, politic, and await with dread the next mass shooting.
If interested, please sign the petition, Not One More Child, my buddy just started.