Monday, January 10, 2011

Gun Crazy

The gunning down of twenty innocent people in an Arizona shopping center this past weekend has reignited the debate about guns in our society. While some have tried to pin the blame for this tragedy on the increasing vitriol in our political dialogue, both proponents and opponents of gun control have seized upon the incident to bolster their cases. The proponents argue that more stringent control laws would have prevented Jared Loughner from purchasing a handgun. Opponents argue that if someone in the crowd had a gun they may have been able to take the shooter down sooner.

In his Blog Briefing Room in The Hill, Jay Schroeder reported that both sides are spinning the shooting to advance their agendas.

“Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) called for an investigation into how the man who shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and as many as 19 others in Tucson, Ariz., Saturday obtained a handgun despite a "history of mental instability."

Newly minted Senator Mike Lee from Utah saw it differently.

“Laws are already on the books that prevent mentally ill people from obtaining guns, he said.

"I don't think we're going to legislate our way out of the risk," the Tea-Party backed senator said.

 "To the contrary, there is abundant research suggesting that in cities where more people own guns, the crime rate, especially the murder rate, goes down."

I think they are both nuts. It is doubtful that a more thorough background check would have prevented Mr. Loughner from purchasing a gun and it is just as unlikely that someone with a gun could have stopped the guy any sooner than the men who eventually tackled him. If someone had attempted to shoot Mr. Loughner it is just as likely that they’d miss and hit another innocent bystander.

That being said, it is still far too easy to buy a gun in this country. It is harder to get a real estate license than it is to purchase a weapon.

That’s crazy.
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