If tighter gun regulation is not considered, politicians will prove no one thus far in history has learned tragic events in the past.
What followed the Tucson, Ariz., shooting on Jan. 8 was a giant outpour of grief accompanied by the question of why this tragedy happened. It killed six people and wounded 14 others, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. But curiousity as to why such an event occurred led public discourse to a boiling point.
President Barack Obama called for a new age of civility in a speech on Jan. 12, but he is sorely mistaken if he believes the Limbaughs and Olbermanns of the world are to blame.
It is possible the murderer was inspired by the argumentative media, but the inspirations of mad men cannot be held accountable. Do we blame “The Catcher in the Rye” for killing John Lennon? Or Jodie Foster for John W. Hinckley’s attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan? Of course not – it is impossible to know what the mentally disturbed will latch on to as motivation, and overreacting to it is foolish.
Focusing on this angle has drawn attention away from the real culprit. It was a gun, not political pundits, who killed and wounded those people in Tucson.
An increased effort to regulate the sale of firearms and ammunition by the government is crucial to prevent such events from reoccurring. Even if regulating guns is impossible, something as simple as managing the size of clips available for retail sale would help prevent a Tucson-like tragedy from happening again.
The gunman utilized an extended magazine, which gave him the ability to fire 31 rounds before needing to reload. In comparison, Sheriff Edgar Domench, who was the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms’ special agent in charge of the Virginia Tech investigation, said on the Jan. 10 “Rachel Maddow Show” a typical law enforcement officer using the exact same gun is issued a clip with 12 shots.
Why should any civilian be allowed to possess a clip well over the size of a standard magazine given to the brave men and women we trust to protect our lives? That is excessive to the point of lunacy.
While Carolyn McCarthy has proposed a bill regulating gun control, it is not likely to be met with much success.
The most supported of the reactionary proposals to come out of Washington so far is a legislation introduced by Rep. Peter King, (R-NY). King’s legislation would outlaw the possession of a gun within 1,000 feet of a congressman.
Despite the fact Congress is afraid of rogue gunmen, a majority of the legislative body won’t lift a finger to help anyone else. Essentially, this means our representatives would rather protect their re-election campaigns by not making enemies with gun-toting voters in their constituencies than protect the lives of the people they represent, including the gun owners.
Clearly, these representatives only have their own interests at heart.
Even if any other proposals were to come about, they would most likely be shot down. The power of the Second Amendment is so overbearing it halts any real effort from progressing.
The original intent of the Second Amendment was to ensure the American citizens would be able to defend themselves if there was an attack because the federal government, at the time, lacked the ability to defend them.
While this is hardly the case now, there is still massive resistance to becoming more flexible in legislative efforts.
Ultimately, the only possible gun regulations that might come about in the ensuing weeks will be mild at best. Even when you get past the self-serving politicians and the ironclad interpretation of the Second Amendment, there is the inevitable challenge of the National Rifle Association.
It’s an unfortunate reality the safety of American citizens is being held at gunpoint by the powerful lobby, but it is a reality nonetheless.
If no major changes occur, nothing will prevent a repeat of this calamity. The events that transpired in Tucson were horrifying, but the real tragedy would be not learning from them.
Zachary Scott can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.