Monday, January 10, 2011

There are guns, and then there are guns.

Gail Collins nails it:

Today, the amazing thing about the reaction to the Giffords shooting is that virtually all the discussion about how to prevent a recurrence has been focusing on improving the tone of our political discourse. That would certainly be great. 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.
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.


California Girl said...

I hear ya. I posted this yesterday:

This morning, NPR had scientists who've studied violence & human nature and one fellow said the U.S. has double the homicide rate of the U.K., Canada & I think, Australia. All three countries ban guns. duh.

I think accusing political rhetoric of stimulating violence is not out of line but just one factor. There are so many. Were we, the people, to demand a level playing field among candidates at all levels of the political spectrum, i.e. no more lobby money, PAC money, zip. All candidates receive the same amount of money to work with from a federal pool contributed to, in part, by tax payers. Were we to do this, much of the influence our congress men and women feel would dissipate. The NRA would no longer have teeth.

I'd donate money in a New York minute if this were the case.

Tim said...

I hear you, California Girl. I don't foresee it happening anytime soon, but I feel the same way. At the very least I'd be in favor of a much shorter campaign season--say, two months or ten weeks.

Dr. Dan Wientzen, D.O. said...

I could not agree more. Hand guns and hunting rifles are made for self defense and recreation. Semi-automatic weapons, like the gun Loughner used are meant for one thing, killing people.

Certainly, there is fear of a slippery slope when it comes to gun laws among average Americans. But, allowing anyone to own a weapon that simply exists to end human life is just ridiculous.