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Gun Control Efforts in the Wake of Jared Lee Loughner

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

The tragic shootings in Tucson have sparked new cries from gun control advocates for more restrictive gun laws. The gun control lobby is hoping the emotions stirred up over the senseless killings will generate a wave of support and favorable Congressional treatment since the most high-profile victim was a member of Congress.


Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., and Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.Y. are proposing banning gun clips that hold more than 10 rounds. Loughner’s gun held 30 rounds. But this bill would not prohibit the sale of used clips with more than a 10-round capacity, and a killer could simply carry more than one gun to avoid having to take time to reload.

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., one of a few anti-gun Republicans in Congress, is proposing a prohibition on firearms within 1000 feet of a president, vice-president, member of Congress or federal judge. A law like this would be impossible to enforce.

A group of family members and survivors from the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings want to make it more difficult for the mentally ill to purchase firearms. Loughner was suspended from Pima County Community College for mental health reasons, and was likely denied enlistment in the army for mental health reasons. Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui was also mentally ill. The group is asking Congress to close the gun-show loophole and provide more funding for criminal background checks. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., wants the military to inform the FBI when someone is rejected for enlistment because of illegal drug use. Schumer claims a law like this would have prevented Loughner from buying a gun.

These restrictions would merely put a band-aid on the real problem. Criminals who really want to kill people are going to find a way to kill them, whether by purchasing guns illegally or using other weapons. The mentally ill used to be locked up in hospitals until the left and activist ACLU attorneys sued to have them released in the 1960’s, fundamentally changing the way society treats the mentally ill. If Loughner had been institutionalized, he would not have been able to purchase guns and kill people.


Gun control has been a tough sell in recent years. Recent high-level court decisions have struck down restrictive gun laws. The Brady Bill, which passed in 1994 banning “Assault Weapons,” expired in 2004 and was not renewed by Congress, after a study found that it had no effect.

With Republicans in control of the House, Speaker John Boehner is unlikely to entertain any legislation curtailing gun rights. Rep. King is reporting a tremendous amount of opposition to his proposed legislation, receiving “100 calls an hour from people who think I am trying to take away their Second Amendment rights.” No Republican members of Congress have come out in favor of McCarthy’s bill to ban high-capacity clips.

Ironically, Congresswoman Giffords owns guns and filed a friend-of-the-court brief in 2008 opposing a handgun ban in Washington, D.C. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence gave her a “0” rating in gun safety efforts.

The Obama administration announced that it is studying new proposals to regulate gun sales as a result of the shootings. But the Brady Campaign rates Obama an F for leadership on gun violence, and so far Obama has not announced support for any gun control measures.

Don’t expect to see any gun control bills passed in Arizona, either. Republicans control the legislature, and Republican Governor Jan Brewer has always supported the Second Amendment. Arizona has some of the friendliest laws towards gun owners in the nation, passing a law last year allowing concealed-carry without a permit.


The shootings are tragic, but the nation finally realizes that restricting gun ownership will not stop violence. If history is any guide, more gun ownership might have averted the massacre, had those present been armed and able to shoot back.

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