Shaken by the deplorable murders in Newtown, we at AOL.com felt compelled to take a stand against the status quo on gun violence in America. We pledged to do four things and then asked for your ideas -- and nearly 4000 of you responded. The responses ran the gamut from calls for stricter laws to a need to focus on mental health issues in America to the over-riding need to protect civil liberties and gun rights. We heard your voices and now we're presenting some of the comments that best expressed those ideas. The only way we can reach an equitable solution to this epidemic is through a national discussion, and so we thank you for taking the time to join in that conversation. We look forward to seeing how this country and our leaders react to the senseless tragedy and, once again, send our thoughts and prayers to the families of those who lost their lives on a dark day we will never forget.

Enforce the Existing Gun Laws First

John Sultana
Dec 21st 2012, 8:32AM
There are many responsible gun owners who grieve over this tragedy. Let's recognize this incident for what it was: A tragedy, simple as that. Are additional gun controls necessary? No, that will not prevent future tragedies from occurring. Current regulations require separate locked storage of ammo from firearms, gun locks, etc. None of this was practiced or the weapons would have been unavailable to the 20-year-old who committed this act. We must learn to accept responsibility for our actions and stop the political posturing. Guns have saved lives and preserved our freedom. Enough said.

Cglover
Dec 21st 2012, 6:25AM
As tragic as this last mass shooting is, deaths by guns have been lowest since the 1980s. Background checks are already done when buying firearms. Some places even have a waiting period. When granted a permit to own and or conceal, that person has to uphold the responsibility of what it takes to be a responsible gun owner. It's education not legislation. Accountability, parenting and keeping firearms properly secured is key. Taking guns away from responsible people who could be the one to help save a life -- or lives -- given the opportunity, gives the shooters an upper hand. Look around: Most cities are cutting down funding for police, and they can't be everywhere all the time.

William Waters
Dec 21st 2012, 6:41AM
I am horrified by the Sandy Hook situation. I don't believe running around banning gun and gun parts is the answer. I don't see anyone trying to ban alcohol and hundreds are affected every day! Enforce the existing gun laws and there will be less problems. How come the only time you hear from most of these politicians is when there is a chance to do some grandstanding? Get rid of the politicians, armed guards and security people so they can experience life at most of our levels. Thanks for reading.

Focus on Mental Health Issues, Rather Than Guns

MDOT
Dec 21st 2012, 7:31AM
The solution is to improve our health care for psychologically impaired individuals. Most of the shooters were suffering from some form of mental illness. Our Second Amendment rights should not be infringed, even though I too believe some of the weapons we have may be senseless, until a reasonable critical incident arises which justifies their necessity. We should at least look at more stringent ways to keep weapons out of the hands of the mentally ill. We are not talking about criminals using these weapons to mass murder people. 75% of weapons used in these current situations were purchased legally. My heart goes out to the families of the victims.

Sandy S
Dec 21st 2012, 7:34AM
The guns used are a symptom of a much bigger problem that we fail to recognize. Mental health should be a part of an annual check-up. Making health care more accessible before these people get old enough to be dangerous is the key. Not to mention that all people bearing children should have to attend classes on parenting and recognizing signs of mental illness. We give licenses to drive, professionals to practice medicine and to own guns, but not for the most important job in the world: Parenting.

End Violence in Hollywood and Video Games

Victor
Dec 21st 2012, 8:06AM
Let's ban violent movies and video games and clean up some lyrics first. The Aurora shooter dressed as The Joker and killed. Bet this last poor soul played more violent video games than took target practice. Wake up folks: It's the violence in our culture, not just the guns. Where is the outcry from politicians to do something about Hollywood and Xboxes?!

Brian Gary
Dec 21st 2012,9:09AM
What needs to be outlawed are the hyper-violent video games on the market and the violence in movies. This mental conditioning is the root cause of the increase in violence in our society. Extremely violent movies should receive an NC-17 ratings -- not R -- and access to these movies should be enforced. The gun show loopholes need to be eliminated and background checks conducted for ALL gun purchases. Existing gun laws need to be strictly enforced. The ban on high-capacity magazines and assault weapons didn't change anything 20 years ago and it won't change anything now.

Improve School Security

Jerry
Dec 21st 2012, 8:07AM
If the teachers had been trained in preparation for this kind of event and had legal weapons on them, few if any deaths would occur. Why are schools not locked from the inside or have cameras with armed guards monitoring who approaches the school? Someone needs to be armed and on watch. In fact, it appears that all rational folks need to be armed and prepared for some crazed person to be attacking at any moment. I think I'll go sign up for a firearms class and shop for a gun today.

CS
Dec 21st 2012, 8:47AM
Secure schools, commit the insane. Hire security to safeguard students and staff. Train staff with Tasers and pepper spray. Be able to take down an attacker. Allow staff to carry their concealed weapons. If the staff in Conn. were able to carry their weapons and had a plan of action, lives would have been saved. Keep in mind any weapon is an "assault weapon" or the now-popular "weapon of war." If you shoot, you know this.

Let Individuals Protect Themselves

Tim
Dec 21st 2012, 8:19AM
Automatic weapons are already banned. They have been for many years. Writing a law that will stop gun violence is impossible. You cannot legally own an AR-15 in the state of Connecticut but the mother had one. If a written law could have stopped this, the mother would not have had an AR-type weapon. The only thing that will stop the killings in schools is to put an armed guard in every school. I do not like this, but today schools are gun-free zones, and everyone knows this. Let the principal have access to a weapon that is locked in the office, and this violence in schools will stop.

Bill LaBre
Dec 21st 2012,6:16AM
Killing unprotected innocents should provoke a burning desire to insure protection. There's protection at federal buildings, at courthouses, but not at schools. For the terrorist, evil or deranged, groups of unprotected innocents are a tempting target. But the focus must be on protection, not guns. A few weeks ago, in China, there was a similar incident, but with a knife. In the Middle East, there are suicide bombers. No matter the weapon, innocents are dead. I'd suggest a refocus of effort to look to protection, not to an ineffective weapons ban.