This, from Gail Collins’ excellent editorial from today’s New York Times:

But you do not hear much about the fact that Jared Loughner came to Giffords’s sweet gathering with a semiautomatic weapon that he was able to buy legally because the law restricting their sale expired in 2004 and Congress did not have the guts to face up to the National Rifle Association and extend it.

And this:

If Loughner had gone to the Safeway carrying a regular pistol, the kind most Americans think of when they think of the right to bear arms, Giffords would probably still have been shot and we would still be having that conversation about whether it was a sane idea to put her Congressional district in the cross hairs of a rifle on the Internet.

But we might not have lost a federal judge, a 76-year-old church volunteer, two elderly women, Giffords’s 30-year-old constituent services director and a 9-year-old girl who had recently been elected to the student council at her school and went to the event because she wanted to see how democracy worked.

Loughner’s gun, a 9-millimeter Glock, is extremely easy to fire over and over, and it can carry a 30-bullet clip. It is “not suited for hunting or personal protection,” said Paul Helmke, the president of the Brady Campaign. “What it’s good for is killing and injuring a lot of people quickly.”

America has a long, terrible history of political assassinations and attempts at political assassination. What we did not have until now is a history of attempted political assassination that took the lives of a large number of innocent bystanders. The difference is not about the Second Amendment. It’s about a technology the founding fathers could never have imagined.

“If this was the modern equivalent of what Sirhan Sirhan used to shoot Robert Kennedy or Arthur Bremer used to shoot George Wallace, you’d be talking about one or two victims,” said Helmke.

In the coming days, the NRA will speak loudly about guns not killing, but people killing. Then the group will continue fighting for the rights of people to bring guns onto college campuses—a very important thing to do because, well, yeah, uh, hmm.


10 thoughts on “Guns”

  1. Jeff,

    Great series of writing and opinion about these events. I have a thought rattling around in my brain though when terrible things like this happen. The call for gun laws.

    There is already a law stating that murdering people is against the law, yet murder is still committed. How will a law limiting weapon types be more effective than what seems to be an all encompassing law? What do you think? I keep coming up with no solution…

  2. JG
    I think it is the amount of carnage.
    Jeff quoted Gail Collins because of her excellent point that these types of guns are designed to kill lots of people quickly.
    The Second Amendment was so that we could maintain a militia. Every able bodied man between 18-45 was required to own a gun and serve in the National Guard.
    The weapons we were required to own:

    “…provide himself with a good musket or firelock, a sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack, a pouch with a box therein to contain not less than twenty-four cartridges, suited to the bore of his musket or firelock, each cartridge to contain a proper quantity of powder and ball: or with a good rifle, knapsack, shot-pouch and powder-horn, twenty balls suited to the bore of his rifle, and a quarter of a pound of powder; and shall appear, so armed, accoutred and provided, when called out to exercise, or into service, except, that when called out on company days to exercise only, he may appear without a knapsack.” (Second Militia Act of 1792)

    I say let them buy a good musket and nothing more.

  3. As much as I despise gun culture and those who defend it, I tend to think the accused gunman would’ve acquired a gun illegally, built a pipe bomb, or built a car bomb to commit these atrocities had he not used his own registered weapon. Tougher legislation has never stopped anyone that was truly committed to terror.

  4. If a responsible gun owner with a conceal and carry permit and a good aim were at the store that day, this kid’s killing spree might not have lasted near as long. Just sayin’….gunmen decidedly prefer unarmed victims.

    1. Brian, that is a poor defense. Maybe if the NRA and our representatives made guns actually difficult to acquire, there’d be fewer shootings in this country. I just don’t get the logic—we need more guns to counter the guns already out there. This guy had a gun because Arizona’s gun laws are a complete joke. No background check, nothing.

  5. Why would the NRA make guns difficult to acquire? Do you know anything about the NRA? That would be like a priest making it difficult to go to church.
    The NRA fights for our 2nd amendment rights while liberals try to demonize them.

    1. Bobby, because maybe—just maybe—some members of the NRA see no benefit to making it legal for someone like the Arizona killer being able to purchase a gun that can fire off 30 rounds in mere seconds. That’s why. Uhg—fucking pisses me off to no end. Do you think the second amendment would be the second amendment were these guns available back then?

  6. Brian

    I doubt “a responsible gun owner with a conceal and carry permit and a good aim” would have been able to get a shot off.
    By the time the gun cleared his holster people were already on top of the shooter.
    All he might have done is shoot one of the citizens that were bringing the shooter down with their bare hands.

    No Gun Was Necessary.

  7. I think anyone wishing to purchase a gun for non-hunting uses should join the National Guard until they reach age 45.
    – without pay –
    Because that was the basis for the 2nd amendment.

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