After a drifter unloaded an assault rifle on an elementary school playground at recess, killing five children and wounding 30 others, the issue of gun control again found its place in the national spotlight. The shooting in Stockton, Calif. saw Americans rushing the doors of gun retailers, attempting to buy up arms out of fear that Washington would soon ban them. TIME’s cover story, citing four other shooting incidents that happened the very same week, brought up the difficulties involved in reining in gun violence in the U.S.:
But in a society that subjects drivers to more rigorous tests before they can operate an automobile than it does gun purchasers before they can buy a deadly firearm, such [Second Amendment] logic has its limits. It surely does not apply to semiautomatic assault rifles, which are unsuitable for either hunting or reasonable self-protection. Such steps as banning paramilitary weapons and instituting a uniform waiting period would not prevent hunters, target shooters, gun collectors or even ordinary citizens legitimately concerned with self-defense from buying weapons. They would merely make it a bit more difficult.