A few years ago, the leaders of the Chicopee Sportsmen’s Club had a bad feeling about a guy who was taking their firearm safety class. He didn’t have the right “type of temperament,” club vice president Richard Mastronardi told me. So someone made made a nonchalant call to the local chief of police, just to suggest that, if it were him, he wouldn’t issue a permit to a guy like that.
That single act hints at a world that’s not far from our grasp — a world in which the right to bear arms is weighed against the damage guns can wreak, a world where people who want guns for self-defense can still agree that a powerful weapon is worth regulating closely. A world in which a disturbed 20-year-old man wouldn’t have access to a weapon that could kill so many children in a horrifying flash.