As many families gathered over the holidays, the issue most hotly debated and discussed was guns and gun violence in the United States. With the Dec. 14 massacre of 20 first-graders and seven adults in Newtown, Connecticut, still raw in our collective memory, and President Obama’s vow to push for new gun control legislation after a bullet-ridden year, our particularly American gun culture, gun-related crimes and the political power of the National Rifle Association continue to dominate the headlines in Washington and our collective kitchens. Over the summer, Mother Jones magazine published a comprehensive survey of mass shootings in the last 30 years, revealing, among other things, that more than three quarters of the killers in the more than 60 mass killings since 1982 got their guns legally. Joining us to discuss that research is MARK FOLLMAN, senior editor at Mother Jones. But first, we’ll check in with Philadelphia District Attorney SETH WILLIAMS, who in an op-ed last week called for “common sense” legislation including bans on assault weapons, mandatory prison sentences for illegal firearms possession, and mental-healthcare reforms. Philadelphia has seen 327 homicides this year, the vast majority by bullet, a city’s daily dose of death that only gains national headlines when delivered in high quantities all at once.
AP Photo/Matt Rourke