That's a complex question with no easy answer Sean.
I think one thing that is preventing us from finding real solutions though is agendas.
The prevalent factions in American are so wrapped up in their own ideological agendas that it's preventing honest discussion about the real issues from even taking place.
Take for example part of the question as you posed it. I assume you were referring, at least in part, to the latest tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary school when you specified schools being shot up by heavy weapons.
The shooter in that case used two hand guns.
Obviously I'm not suggesting that you are intentionally misrepresenting the facts. You seem like a level headed individual who is honestly seeking answers.
My point is that your perception is that heavy weaponry was used, and that perception comes from the way one faction has covered this tragedy.
They've managed to make this all about banning "assault weapons" (the AR 15 is the one mentioned specifically the most) when that type of weapon wasn't even used in that particular case.
I've said it before. This seems to be more of a mental health issue than anything else. The shooter at Sandy Hook was known by almost everyone who had any contact with him to be mentally unstable.... As was the case in Aurora, and Virginia Tech and Columbine.
In all of these cases the perpetrators weren't simply evil individuals with malicious intentions, like Timothy McVeigh or the extremists that launched the attacks on 911.
They were all unstable individuals that displayed at least some, if not all the warning signs, but nobody payed attention or did anything about it.
The identification was at least partially there. Why wasn't there any follow up on that? Why were they not more effectively treated, or treated at all? How did they fall through the mental health care cracks?
Where's the debate concerning these questions?
What's the big debate that has come of all this?
Where's the discussion about how we can identify these troubled individuals earlier and get them the help they need before
they go out and steal a gun, or any other weapon... or a car or a hammer for that matter... and use it to harm others... Or themselves.
We have talk about arming or not arming our teachers.
Where's the talk about the possibility of more training for our teachers in the identification of kids who may have mental health problems? And once they're identified, how about we focus on more efficient ways of getting them treatment and the monitoring of progress... or lack thereof?
We just had a huge, heated nation wide debate about health care. Mental health was barely mentioned at all.
Forcing religious institutions and the tax payer to fund abortions and contraception...
Another ideological agenda based debate. That's
what was (and still is) on the forefront of that discussion.
I think in order to address any problem, the source first needs to be pinpointed.
If we can't have an honest dialog with that being the sincere motivation, rather than the pushing of agenda, then we're going to be doomed to failure where addressing the real issues is concerned.