After the stunningly horrific tragedy in Newtown, CT people have naturally gone from grief to wanting to figure out how to stop these kinds of things from happening in the future. Like some sort of pavlovian response, the first thought for many seems to be more gun control and less individual liberty. Unfortunately, some of this is because people have some misconceptions about things like semi-automatic weapons and gun control in general. First, for those who have never handled a firearm, they seem to confuse the term "semi-automatic" with "fully automatic". A semi-automatic rifle is really just a big pistol. If you pull the trigger, one bullet comes out. Sure, the rifle might look "military style" but that is pretty much where the comparisons end, for the most part. Adam Lanza would have killed just as many kids with a pistol. He had at least 10 minutes from when he shot into the school to when the Police showed up, giving him plenty of time to reload multiple magazines of bullets if he wanted to (John Hinderker of Powerline commented that "when seconds count, the police are only minutes away."). It's not like the school had any security to stop him anyway. It was a building full of little kids and unarmed women, the only thing that stopped Adam Lanza was himself, he shot himself when he heard the police coming.
Then there is the misconception that gun control can "stop the crazy". Unfortunately, the answer is no. People will always be crazy and will try to hurt kids for no apparent reason. Just take a look at the school attacks in China with items like knives, cleavers and axes. Recently, one man with a knife stabbed 23 children all by himself (no word on the Chinese banning knives and mandating the use of sporks for dinnerware). Then there is the case of Norway, which is not thought of as being terribly lax on gun control (no, the NRA did not get its start as the Norwegian Rifle Association). 69 people, mostly teens, were killed on a one man assault on a summer camp by a guy dressed as a cop. Heck, one of the first instances of a school massacre in what is now the United States happened in 1764, about 180 years before even the invention of semi-automatic "assault rifles", when Indians massacred 10 kids in a schoolhouse. To paraphrase Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park, crazy finds a way.
Some others think that we need to make it easier for the crazy to be forcibly committed. Again, I'm not sure how you are going to help matters here unless you literally lock up everyone who is introverted. Is every nerdy kid in high school who is uncomfortable in social situations supposed to be locked up? Or how about kids who also like video games? That seems to be the common denominator after Colombine, the Norway Massacre and Newtown. Like nerdy kids didn't have enough to worry about without bullies now being able to say "careful or I'll have you committed". How about just autistic kids who like video games? But wait, aren't you then discriminating against those with disabilities? It just doesn't seem like a realistic solution, especially from what I've read so far in this case.
I really don't think anything can stop this type of thing from happening again. We have over 300 million people in this country, a few are bound to go so completely nuts that they target innocent children. But is there anything that we can do to mitigate the damage when someone does go nuts and tries to kill our children? I think we need more guns around, not less. Take Israel as an example. Israel is situated next to an entire nation of Adam Lanza's, many of whom are armed with fully automatic weapons. What keeps them from killing 30 kids every day or week (and you know many of them want to)? It's the fact that they'd be stopped quickly by an Israeli with a gun. Hence that is why the Palestinans feel they need to resort to explosives as the devastation is pretty much instantaneous and you don't care how many people around may be armed.
I just want to finish by pointing out that the vast majority of gun owners, own a gun for protecting their family. How does it make sense to make them even less secure than they are now?