There are two op-eds on gun control in today’s New York Times. The first is a regular editorial, “Bloodshed and invective in Arizona.”
That whirlwind has touched down most forcefully in Arizona, which Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik described after the shooting as the capital of “the anger, the hatred and the bigotry that goes on in this country.” Anti-immigrant sentiment in the state, firmly opposed by Ms. Giffords, has reached the point where Latino studies programs that advocate ethnic solidarity have actually been made illegal.
Its gun laws are among the most lenient, allowing even a disturbed man like Mr. Loughner to buy a pistol and carry it concealed without a special permit. That was before the Tucson rampage. Now, having seen first hand the horror of political violence, Arizona should lead the nation in quieting the voices of intolerance, demanding an end to the temptations of bloodshed, and imposing sensible controls on its instruments.
And a piece by Gail Collins, “A right to bear Glocks“, including:
. . .Arizona has completely eliminated the whole concept of requiring a concealed weapon permit. Last year, it got 2 points out of a possible 100 in the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence state score card, avoiding a zero only because its Legislature has not — so far — voted to force colleges to let people bring their guns on campuses.
Today, the amazing thing about the reaction to the Giffords shooting is that virtually all the discussion about how to prevent a recurrence has been focusing on improving the tone of our political discourse. That would certainly be great. But you do not hear much about the fact that Jared Loughner came to Giffords’s sweet gathering with a semiautomatic weapon that he was able to buy legally because the law restricting their sale expired in 2004 and Congress did not have the guts to face up to the National Rifle Association and extend it. .
. . . Loughner’s gun, a 9-millimeter Glock, is extremely easy to fire over and over, and it can carry a 30-bullet clip. It is “not suited for hunting or personal protection,” said Paul Helmke, the president of the Brady Campaign. “What it’s good for is killing and injuring a lot of people quickly.”
In all the discussion yesterday, and in the political discourse about the right to bear arms, I’ve never heard a single good justification for allowing people to own semiautomatic weapons. As you know, I favor the banning of all firearms (or at least their restriction to target practice, where they could be sequestered at gun clubs), but for the nonce that’s a losing cause. But allowing the sale of semiautomatic weapons to the public is insane. Is there any justification for it save the specious “slippery slope” argument (if you ban those, all weapons come next)?
Screw the NRA.