Florida will hit the 1 million-mark for concealed-weapon permit-holders in the coming days, a stat reported last week that received scant attention.
That wouldnt have been the case if Sandy Hook Elementary School was in whats sometimes called the Gunshine State instead of Connecticut.
Reporters, advocates and experts would have descended on Florida, combed through its generous gun laws and examined the line between statute and slaughter.
Thats what we do as a society: We try to wring reason out of the senseless.
But were probably not soon going to find a solution to stopping mass shootings like those that happened in Connecticut, Oregon, Wisconsin, Colorado or Florida this year.
Nor will we have a reasonable debate, either. There is too much fear, too much money, too many conflicting statistics, too much emotion and too many divisive politics and agendas at play. That doesnt mean more laws are or are not needed.
Its just that its easier to kill with guns than regulate them more.
President Barack Obama, though, suggested on Sunday hed try for more gun control, despite the complexities.
Are we really prepared to say that were powerless in the face of such carnage? That the politics are too hard? he said in Newton, Conn. Surely we can do better than this.
But some say calls to talk gun laws are premature.
I hope we can take a break from the politics of shooting for a few days to mourn, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican, wrote on Twitter the day before, summing up the sentiment of gun-rights advocates after every high-profile shooting.
One of the first to make headlines this year: a North Miami Beach funeral home shooting where alleged gangsters wounded 12 mourners and killed two in March. Weeks before, a man named George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin, a Miami Gardens teen in a case that put Floridas gun laws in the crosshairs.
Zimmerman is pleading self-defense under the states Stand Your Ground lethal-force law, a model for other gun-happy states. As the facts emerge, its tough to tell what happened or whether the shooting would have taken place absent Stand Your Ground.
Zimmerman is a concealed-weapon permit holder in Florida. He has company.
On Wednesday, two days before Sandy Hook, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam held a press conference to mark the 25th year of the concealed-weapon permit program.
Putnam said well hit the millionth-permit mark this week, making Florida a leader. Putnam noted that slightly more than 7,200 permits only three-tenths of a percent of the permits ever issued- have been revoked due to crime by the permit holder or changes in the law since 1987.
Responsible use of these licenses is overwhelmingly the rule, Putnam said, according to the Florida Current.
The problem: madmen and their access to weaponry.
The U.S. has well over 310 million non-military firearms (about enough for every citizen), about a third of households own guns and polls indicate that Americans are about evenly divided on whether to regulate guns more or keep the laws as is. Theres also a thriving and powerful gun lobby and industry.
And unlike other consumer items we tightly regulate, guns are enshrined in the Constitution.
Perhaps if we could start from scratch or if the framers of the Constitution knew what an AR-15 was, it would be different.