The killing that wasn’t

On Tuesday, a young man who apparently had mental problems went into a Georgia elementary school carrying an AK-47 rifle and 500 rounds of ammunition. But this didn’t turn into a slaughter, because Michael Brandon Hill decided to barricade himself in an office instead of shooting at children and school staff.

It is a relief that this wasn’t a tragedy like the one that happened in Newtown months ago. However, it is no less horrifying that someone with a history of mental illness—who was arrested five months ago for threatening to kill his brother—had access to a rifle like the ones used in Connecticut and similar incidents.

It isn’t unusual that this happened in Georgia, one of the states with the most permissive gun ownership and use laws. The only thing the Newtown incident did was make the majority of Georgia’s lawmakers—state and federal—take on more extremist positions, fighting fire with more fire. The city of Nelson even passed an ordinance requiring its residents to own guns and ammunition.

The case of Georgia should be an example of extremism in interpreting the Second Amendment and its right to bear arms. In reality, it isn’t. There are too many other states that are more concerned about defending the right to bear arms than protecting the safety of their most defenseless residents.

Fortunately, California still has a strong regulatory policy that will be reinforced thanks to a handful of laws that are about to be approved. Moreover, it is the only state that attempts to take guns away from those who should no longer have them for some legal reason.

It is unfortunate that our state is the exception to the rule. While that is the case, there will be more children running away and more terrified parents waiting in front of the schools. And as we know from experience, these situations rarely have a happy ending like the one on Tuesday.