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.
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Largely because Democrats are not expecting President Obama to back any major gun-control package, Representative McCarthy, one of the strongest gun-control advocates in Congress, has said any bills to control specific guns like the Glock 19 semiautomatic used in the Arizona shootings are "off the table." And experts like Kopel say even the proposed new restrictions will have trouble passing Congress in the face of stated opposition from House Speaker John Boehner.Skip to next paragraph
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With 85 guns in circulation for every 100 Americans, the sheer prevalence of guns leads to a high rate of gun-deaths – some 30,000 a year – in the US when compared with other Western countries. Yet in a country so heavily armed – and that reality protected in large part by the Second Amendment – gun-control measures, to many Americans, seem more a theoretical exercise when weighed against individual responsibility to protect oneself in the face of trouble, gun-rights experts say.
"Simply telling people to behave passively or to defend themselves in some other way is not very good advice," John Lott Jr., the author of "More Guns, Less Crime," told the conservative National Review Online this week. "Having a gun is by far the safest course of action for those left to confront a criminal alone."
In Arizona, which has some 39,000 words in its statutes related to gun control, the campus-carry legislation follows a major expansion of gun rights last year when the legislature made Arizona the sixth state to pass the "Firearms Freedom Act," which exempts any firearm made and used inside the state's borders from federal regulations. If passed, the campus-carry law would give the state the lowest score in the US on a gun-control scorecard kept by the Brady Campaign.
Wrong lessons from the shooting
To many Arizonans, talking about how to get more guns into more hands even as the country grieves signals that the state is taking the wrong lessons from Saturday's tragic shooting.
"Arizonans, myself included, love to tout their vaunted independence and Western values," writes Katherine Benton-Cohen, a Georgetown University professor, on Politico. "But when we perpetuate the idea that Arizona is some unchanging Wild West, we fall into the trap of a myth that only serves to embolden those who refuse to support common-sense restrictions on purchasing firearms."
In part, the failures of the gun-control movement nationally came out of a calculated decision by Democrats to court conservative and pro-Second Amendment Blue Dog Democrats in the South and West, a strategy which helped bring about Democratic victories in 2006 and 2008, laying the foundation for the passage of landmark legislation such as health-care reform.
One of those Blue Dogs is Representative Giffords, a Second Amendment proponent who also owns a Glock.