When Orlando shooting brings terror, guns to my backyard

Story highlights

  • Mark O'Mara: U.S.cannot ignore that there are those among us who will abuse 2d amendement rights with assault weapons
  • He says there's no rational reason to make them available; for one thing, they enable terrorists to harm us

Mark O'Mara is a CNN legal analyst and a criminal defense attorney. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN)So this is what it feels like when it comes to your backyard. Literally. My house is about four blocks from the Pulse nightclub and even though I've been trained to look at and analyze horrible situations dispassionately for the past 30 years, when blood is actually spilled in the streets that I drive over every day, it is different.

Mark O'Mara
Without knowing all the details of what has happened yet, I am immensely sad, angry, frustrated and in despair.
I want to go hold and help those devastated by this tragedy — that is what this moment calls for.
And while another part of me, one that unsettles me, suddenly has a slightly better understanding of the vengeful feelings some have at times like this, it is clear why it is so important for all those affected to remember that revenge is not the response we should give into. That would actually further the plans of those who want to do us harm.
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Those initial angry reactions -- emotional, visceral — are not what this country, a nation that observes the rule of law, is about. Our lawful system of justice is what separates us from the murderous zealotry perpetrated by a few distorted individuals in our midst. In fact, I also know that, if the shooter had survived, it's a good chance that I would be one of the attorneys he called and my oath tells me I should offer him representation.
At the same time, this man struck a very painful gut punch to a city that I love and yet another one to a country that I love and am worried about.
I have written and spoken many times on issues of gun violence in America. I always start by saying that I am a gun owner and I have a concealed weapons permit. That said, we simply cannot ignore the reality that there are those among us who will abuse that right and do so with dangerous assault weapons.
The weapon that was used in this case can discharge several hundred death-inducing shots per minute. The immense firepower of that weapon has allowed this to become the most deadly terrorist attack since 9/11. As a country, we must take a moment to pause and contemplate whether an unbridled protection of our Second Amendment rights is appropriate in this day and age.
There is simply no rational reason to believe that we have to supply citizens with assault weapons. Any paranoid belief that such weaponry would be necessary in a government-induced Armageddon simply pales in comparison to the undeniable reality of what we might do -- are doing -- to each other with such weapons.
While I acknowledge that any terrorist wannabe can get necessary supplies for a bomb at a hardware or fertilizer store, I'm simply suggesting that we cut off one of the heads of this terror-bent Medusa.
To cut off their access to guns is not an ultimate solution in and of itself; unfortunately there's not going to be one of those. But it is a way to make it more difficult for those who want to harm us to do so.
The alternative is the immensely sad one that we are now living: a world where we are used to gearing up news crews and trauma counselors at the drop of a hat, for the next major tragedy.
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I'm furious that we will only be devastated by this for a short time, and that we all know there will be another. I'm worried that those who mean us so much harm are winning. The life we live, one of a subtle awareness that the next one is coming, is exactly what our enemies want.
It is time to rally around what is good with America, and it is most important now, in this time of horrific tragedy, to maintain the principle that we will not be dragged down to the level of those who are the worst among us.