Aftermath of Arizona shooting: More guns in more hands?
Despite gun control efforts in Congress in the wake of the Arizona shooting, it's unlikely that America will see more gun control laws. In fact, the opposite may happen, at least in Arizona.
Congress is preparing three new gun control laws in the wake of the shooting deaths Saturday of six people and wounding of 14 others, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, in Tucson, Ariz. But some Americans are drawing a different conclusion from the attack: Only more guns in more hands can reduce gun violence.Skip to next paragraph
US lawmakers immediately began reviewing their personal security details in the wake of the shooting, even debating whether to install bulletproof glass to separate lawmakers from the publicly accessible Capitol gallery. At least two congressmen – Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R) of Utah and Heath Shuler (D) of North Carolina, both licensed gun carriers from staunchly pro-gun parts of their states – announced they'd be carrying weapons during upcoming public events in their districts.
And even as Arizonans held an emotional national memorial meeting with President Obama on Wednesday night for the victims of the worst act of gun violence since the Fort Hood shootings in 2009, the Arizona Legislature didn't hesitate this week to introduce a bill that would allow college students to carry weapons on campus.
"Arizona's response [to the shooting] – the most likely legislative response – is going to be expanded gun rights," writes Slate's David Weigel, noting that gun rights remains a top priority for a fresh batch of tea party conservatives elected to the Republican-led legislature in November.
In a country that, on the national level, hasn't passed a major gun-control law since the assault-weapons ban in 1993, gun rights have been steadily expanding by judicial decree as well as state and national law. In 2009, President Obama, who campaigned on a promise to reinstate the assault-weapons ban, signed laws allowing gun owners to carry their weapons in national parks and on Amtrak trains.
Politicians are likely taking cues from the public. A Gallup poll in October found that 44 percent of Americans believe firearm sale regulations should be stricter, a record low response to that question. A USA Today poll taken after the Arizona shooting showed that only 1 in 5 respondents believe stricter gun control laws would have prevented the shooting.