Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Editorial | The Omaha Massacre

Warning shots

The senseless shooting deaths of eight people in an Omaha mall further underscore the need for greater gun control nationwide and in Pennsylvania.

The suburban mall slaughter should be a wake-up call for lawmakers to pass meaningful gun-control legislation.

Unfortunately, many in Harrisburg have been reluctant to confront the growth in gun violence, believing it is an urban problem and not something people have to worry about in suburbia.

When are they going to understand that easy access to guns - and the violence that accompanies access - isn't limited to inner cities? It's not just drug dealers who are shooting people.

The troubled 19-year-old in Omaha used his stepfather's AK-47-type assault weapon to unleash 30 rounds of gunfire on innocent victims, and then killed himself. Who needs a gun like that around the house?

The incident was the second mass shooting at a mall by a teenager this year. In February, an 18-year-old killed five people and wounded four in Salt Lake City before police killed him.

Add the mall shootings to a growing list that includes the mass murder of 32 people at Virginia Tech University. Pretty soon the shock of the Columbine massacre starts to seem commonplace.

Easy access to guns is a big part of the problem. In Nebraska, where the latest mall shootings occurred, a new state law allows almost anyone over 21 to carry a concealed weapon.

Reasonable laws that make concessions for hunters and gun collectors are needed. But Pennsylvania lawmakers are resisting a measure to limit individual handgun sales to one a month. Hardly a bold step when you can still buy 12 guns a year.

The Legislative Black Caucus should be applauded for walking off the House floor in Harrisburg in an effort to push fellow lawmakers to take action on gun control. But that was just one step in a long march needed to end gun violence.