Availability of guns is the core of the problem

The National Rifle Association was right.

Background checks would not have prevented Newtown. It also could say correctly, but won’t, that its own call for armed guards at America’s schools would not have prevented Columbine.

What everybody can say is that neither massacre could have happened without the availability of a gun. This is a country where we focus on symptoms and rarely, if ever, on the core problem.

It was no surprise when it turned out the Boston Marathon non-massacre using a pair of pressure cookers also, before the case’s dramatic end, involved guns.

While that dramatic story was unwinding, Republican senators successfully filibustered to death an anemic bill that would not have dealt with this nation’s proliferation of guns, only a tiny fragment of their availability.

It is high time this nation used zero-based problem-solving and deal with the real problem, firearm availability.

The Second Amendment, all of it, not just the second half cited by the NRA, says: “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

That means that all firearms could be required by a state militia, today’s National Guard, to be kept locked up in the local armory, with each owner’s access subject to the militia’s discretion.

Let the states, the silly and the sane, have only that much and decide at the national level what added firearm availability we want to grant.

Howard Fields