America has a problem with guns – there are too many shootings, too few common sense restrictions, and too little inclination to ask where these guns come from, who is able to get them, and why we need all these weapons.

This week and last week, we were all reminded of this again.  We need to have a serious national conversation about this, and commit ourselves to making progress.  For the past five years, we’ve been going backward, not forward.

It’s hard to know what might have prevented the recent school shootings, but making it harder to buy high-powered weapons and ammunition certainly would help.  Let’s require background checks on every gun purchase, stop bulk sales of handguns and make it easier to close down bad gun dealers.

These school gun incidents occur more often than we realize. They don’t become major media stories.  We often ignore incidents if they occur in the big city or the poorer part of town. We have to find solutions.  As a minister said at a large rally for common sense gun laws in Pennsylvania last week, we crack down on spinach when there are deaths, but not guns.

Some now say that we should arm our teachers. That just doesn’t stand up to rational analysis.  My wife is a teacher.  She doesn’t want to take on a responsibility as serious as this, and she wouldn’t feel safer if other teachers had guns.  And as a parent I wouldn’t want to be checking the marksmanship scores of my daughter’s teachers along with their academic scores.

We need fewer guns in society, not more guns in schools.  Gun violence is not an incurable disease or unstoppable natural disaster.  We can solve this problem if we’re willing to start talking about its real causes and real solutions.