The time for real gun regulation and mental health treatment was years ago.

In the wake of yet another mass killing by an armed gunman that left 20 children and 6 adults dead at an elementary school in Newtown Conn., now is the time to for politicians to stop quivering in the shadow of the National Rifle Association.

Every time we have one of these tragedies, the chorus goes like this, “We can’t talk about policy at this time.”

Then the media attention dies down and the policy discussion never happens.

It’s time to reinstate the assault weapons ban and the ban on ammunition clips beyond 10 rounds.

The assault weapons ban won’t stop every act of violence from occurring, but it will save lives.

For example, the Tucson shooter was only wrestled to ground when he ran out of bullets. Had he only had a 10-round clip, as opposed to a 30-round clip, how many of his victims would be alive today?

The Aurora shooter would not have had an assault rifle when he entered that movie theater.

And think about this. There’s a reason soldiers don’t go into battle with single-action six-shooter pistol. They go to battle with assault weapons with long barrels and the ability to cap off bullets very quickly to more easily kill as many people as the soldier needs to.

There is no logical reason for a civilian to have a military grade weapon.

And we should close the gun show loophole. We should require background checks for every gun purchase. All guns should be registered. Private sales and transfers should be recorded and tracked.

We also need to stop ignoring mental health and invest heavily in early detection of clinical depression among teenagers. Depression often is directed inward, but in the instances where it projects outward, the consequences to society can be horrific.

This is the bare minimum that we, as a “civilized” society, should do to protect our families, children and loved ones from senseless death.

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