As a Chicago born and raised teenager in the mid-1950s, I, at the age of 14, legally purchased a 12 ga. shotgun without ID and but a simple phone call to ascertain parental consent. There was no requirement for registration. The only data exchanged was my contact information documented on the shopkeeper's bill of sale.
In that same era, public schools had open campuses, unlocked doors and neither security concerns nor a need for security procedures -- other than the routine fire drills and the occasional under-the-desk nuclear attack drill.
Firearms and ammunition could be legally (and were routinely) carried inside the passenger compartment of autos and trucks.
In 1961 there were 158.1 violent crimes recorded per 100K people; in 1991 there were 758.1 violent crimes recorded per 100K people (see FBI crime stats).
Today, Chicago has among the most restrictive handgun ownership laws in the nation, yet this summer's Southside shooting rampages continue at a fever pitch.
Since the outset of the Chicago handgun ban, the percentage of Chicago murders committed with handguns has averaged about 40% higher than it was before the law took effect.
There is no law that will ever force a person with bad intentions to voluntarily give up their illegally obtained and/or unregistered firearm(s).
The USA does not have a gun problem, it has a mental health problem; a prescription drug problem; an illegal drug problem; a latch-key kids problem; a day-care abuse problem; a public school abuse problem; a one parent family problem; a foster children problem; a violence in media problem...all of which fall under the aegis of the catch-all: a critical and consequential absence of morality problem.
America has a problem with anger and hate; and there is no legislative body that can create a law to fix this pharmacologically and sociologically induced psychosis.
Public schools are, by law, "gun free zones."
Is it possible that Kleibold, Harris and Lanza considered that fact as they planned their evil deeds?
I have an idea: How about taking away from every legislator or individual (who voted for or supports gun control) their armed security detail, all the firearms from their homes, and then stick a sign on the front door identifying their home as a "gun free zone."
What, then, is the diametrically opposite difference between the America of the 1950s -- and that of today?
The answer: Progressivism.
Why? Because those whose ideas emanated from elite academia and which evolved into political correctness -- have managed to destroy the peoples’ connection and adherence to the concept(s) of natural law.
Example: Displays featuring the Ten Commandments and The Golden Rule were depicted as murals on the staircase landings of Skokie, Illinois’ Sharp Corner Elementary (public) School that I attended as a 5th and 6th grader; or, while in 7th grade at Jamieson Public School in Chicago, the teacher leading us in prayer for our classmate, Jimmy Schmidt, who was dying of cervical cancer -- are now prohibited by judicial (albeit, unconstitutional) fiat.
Progressives also reject the idea that every responsible person has the natural right to self defense.
"Firearms stand next in importance to the constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence … from the hour the Pilgrims landed to the present day, events, occurences and tendencies prove that to ensure peace security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable … the very atmosphere of firearms anywhere restrains evil interference — they deserve a place of honor with all that's good." ~~ George Washington
People who are predisposed to the concepts of social engineering are, ironically, the least qualified to enact the panacea of every progressive: “change.” What they do have is an overabundance of media clout; which adds more than a modicum of misguided credibility to their nefarious schemes -- many of which have been cited above.
America does not have a gun problem. America has a problem with a strong central government that has seen fit to disconnect the people from the morality based concepts found in natural law.