EDITORIAL: Looking for answers

New solutions need to be found to fix the gun problem – in the U.S. and elsewhere – before it's too late.

Reports that the U.S. has logged more than 350 mass shootings this year are shocking.

And, according to details shared by those who have tracked the violence, there have been five such incidents on more than a single day.

From our relatively quiet homes on the Semiahmoo Peninsula – even in light of the spate of gunfire in Newton since spring, related to a low-level drug-trade conflict – it’s difficult to fathom one such senseless act, never mind more in one year than there are days.

It’s no surprise that the gun-control debate is heating up south of the border. Wednesday’s killing of 14 people at a San Bernardino, Calif. social-services agency was reportedly the deadliest in the U.S. since that at Sandy Hook Elementary three years ago, when 26 children and adults were gunned down.

Also fresh in our memories is last Friday’s killing of three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado.

When the issue of gun control is raised in Canada, opponents to such regulations rightly argue the laws make no difference to those with a criminal mind and a determination to do lethal damage.

Regardless of the country, province or state, and regardless of whether there are laws and how strict or lax they may be, the reality is the problem lies more with the people who possess firearms than the firearms themselves.

It can be argued that there is a necessity for such artillery, that completely removing guns from the equation is not the solution.

Those tasked with ensuring our safety need them. They deal with the worst people in society and must have the ability to use lethal force not only to protect us, but to protect themselves in our service, too.

Fortunately, the reality is the majority of those in law enforcement – in Canada, at least – can go their entire career without ever pulling the trigger, aside from target practice.

Those who hunt for food also argue their right and need to possess arms, although that is often hotly debated itself.

These points are only a few of the numerous sides to the argument. Time and time again, the debate appears to come to an impasse, when weighing whether one’s legal right to possess guns means that they should.

It’s a question that needs serious consideration by lawmakers not only in the U.S., but worldwide, before mass shootings become so commonplace that they no longer make headlines.