At an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, a man carrying three semiautomatic guns fatally shot six women and 20 first-graders. Adam Lanza, 20, killed his mother in her home, then brought her .223-caliber Bushmaster assault rifle, 10mm Glock pistol, and 9mm Sig Sauer pistol, as well as a shotgun and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, to Sandy Hook Elementary School, where he shot his way through a glass door and killed staff members and students in a hallway and two classrooms before killing himself. The shooting was the second deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, the sixteenth mass shooting in the United States this year, and the thirty-first school shooting since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999. “These tragedies must end,” said President Barack Obama during a speech in Newtown. “And to end them, we must change.” The same week, police in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, arrested a high school student who was planning to kill his classmates with guns and explosives; police in Cedar Lake, Indiana, seized 47 guns from a man who had threatened to attack a nearby elementary school; police in Birmingham, Alabama, shot a gunman after he wounded three people at a hospital; a man in Portland, Oregon, shot and killed two people at a mall, then fatally shot himself; two police officers in Topeka, Kansas, were fatally shot outside a grocery store; and a federal appeals court struck down the country’s only statewide concealed-weapons ban. The National Rifle Association disabled its Facebook page, and 31 senators with pro–gun rights voting records declined invitations to discuss gun control on Meet the Press. “A gun didn’t kill all those children,” said a Newtown gun owner. “A disturbed man killed all those children.” At an elementary school in Chengping, China, a man carrying a knife wounded one adult and 22 children, killing none.

Jeremy Keehn, Harper’s Weekly Review