The whole nation was left shocked and sickened last week when a Sydney father made the unthinkable decision to kill his own teenage children and then himself.
It is difficult to imagine a more evil and cowardly act than taking two young lives that you brought into the world in order to make the surviving parent suffer unimaginable and life-long pain.
As more of the horrific details became known, it was only naturally that people asked what happened and what else could be done to prevent similar incidents in the future.
The West Pennant Hills murders not only concern gun laws, but how authorities and the legal system respond to family violence and the ability of people to leave their partners and still feel safe.
There’s no real argument among informed people that firearms are an essential tool for certain professions, especially farmers.
A farmer without a gun is much less able to defend his valuable crops and livestock, representing his livelihood for the year, from pests and predators.
A farmer without a gun is much less able to safely and humanely euthanise livestock too stricken by disease or bushfire injuries to survive.
The many hunters and target shooters in and around Wagga and the Riverina take part in their chosen sports both legally and safely most months of the year.
Yet, it is these overwhelmingly law-abiding groups who are often targeted by new laws in the aftermath of an individual who decided to use a gun to commit violence.
It is also these same groups who are targeted by thieves intent on obtaining firearms for the black market, and as such most legal owners take great steps to secure their guns.
The United States guarantees “the right to keep and bear arms”, and suffers a mass shooting case involving four or more people almost every other day.
Incidents like West Pennant Hills, or the Margaret River murder suicide before that, would not make national news like they did in Australia.
In Australia, possessing firearms is much more of a responsibility rather than a right, and the killings of two people is rare and can still horrify us all.
The full facts are still not known of how the coward behind the Pennant Hills murders obtained his guns.
A sensible approach would be to target those issues, not every law-abiding owner.