In this case, there probably is a policy which could stop mass shootings. But we are not going to implement that policy. And since nothing else is going to work, we are not going to pass a law that will stop these sorts of mass shootings. We may pass a law, mind you. But whatever we do pass, we will have more of these evil happenings ahead of us. …

What Lanza shows us is the limits of the obvious policy responses. He had all the mental health resources he needed–and he did it anyway. The law stopped him from buying a gun–and he did it anyway. The school had an intercom system aimed at stopping unauthorized entry–and he did it anyway. Any practical, easy-to-implement solution to school shootings that you could propose, along with several that were not at all easy to implement, was already in place. Somehow, Lanza blew through them all.

Perhaps we need to go farther. But how far? The one thing we cannot do, though this did not stop many people from suggesting it, is to ban “the types of weapons that make these shootings possible”. It is easy and satisfying to be for “gun control” in the abstract, but we cannot pass gun control, in the abstract. We have to pass a specific law that describes very specifically what people may and may not do. That means we need to carefully specify the features that makes these shootings possible. And unfortunately, the feature is . . . “fires metal pellets at high speed”.