How can we, as a political society curb this unacceptable activity? Could or should we confiscate all firearms? We have 300 million citizens with as many guns, although not everyone has one. Guns are small, durable and popular. Licensing would be the only way out of the hardware side of this problem. I have a concealed pistol permit, so can claim I have been vetted, however I know that the check is only a criminal background check, and doesn't address my mental state or proficiency with firearms. I swear that I've never been institutionalized for mental problems. As a part time crazy person, I resent this question, but what are you going to do? In Washington State our concealed carry permit requirements are totally inadequate, in that it only covers pistols, and not other firearms and is as flimsy a fig leaf of a law as can be written on the subject. The mental part of this problem is probably unsolvable. Some would have the media hush up publicity about the shootings, but that solution didn't work for Aeroflot's abysmal safety record in the bad old Soviet days. Planes went down, and passengers just disappeared.
There is no cure for muckers with firearms, but criminals could be another matter. Disarming the enemy has a lot of appeal, but getting around the NRA will be daunting. If only Nixon could go to China, then only the NRA can disarm the criminal element. For various social, political and historical reasons a large part of the populace doesn't trust the public sphere with the regulation of firearms. Not in your lifetime. As Americans become more urban, better educated and less inclined to hunt the gun culture will decline.
The school killers that are in the headlines almost every couple of weeks threaten few of us, but the people threatened are our most genuinely beloved people, our kids. Like the September eleventh attacks the effects of these murders exceeds the actual damage done. Over reaction is what does the real damage. Our over reaction in Iraq is a good example of the damage that can be done by a cynical leader and frightened populace. Fear of the weird kid or the Moslem next door will drive us nuts and accomplish nothing.