Full disclosure: I do not like guns. I do not own one, and I won’t own one. I do not hunt, and I am not so afraid that I feel I must protect myself with a weapon that is much more likely to end up hurting me or someone I love than anyone else. I have fired guns, however, and am a pretty good shot. But I’m older now, and wiser. Guns don’t kill people. People with guns do.
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President Barack Obama’s speech in Tuscon, after the January 8 massacre leaving six dead and 13 wounded, has been widely heralded as brilliant and consoling for the country. However, something was missing. Where’s the beef? The prevalence of guns everywhere has put every American tragically in jeopardy. Doesn’t anyone care?
It was easy for Obama to commiserate over the Tuscon massacre, but it would have taken courage to call it like it is. Courage he has rarely shown when the chips are down, and even more to expect when the 2012 elections loom, as he is seeking re-election. That is too much to ask even of a president who is so eloquent with words and reticent and self protective, when it comes to a political pitfall.
The shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and more than a dozen of her constituents in Tucson this weekend has sparked criticism of Arizona’s lax gun control laws and renewed calls from some to tighten those restrictions. Six individuals were confirmed dead. Here’s our attempt to briefly break down a few of the issues at play:
Types of weapons available
In the Arizona case, the gun used by accused shooter Jared Lee Loughner was a Glock 19—a semiautomatic weapon with a 33-round magazine. The New York Times reported that this magazine is banned in six states and D.C., but not in Arizona. It was also previously illegal under a federal assault weapons ban that expired under the Bush administration in 2004.