Could better gun control have prevented the Arizona massacre?

Could better gun control have prevented the Arizona massacre? The President of the Brady Center to prevent gun violence perhaps put it best in an interview yesterday saying, “[Loughner] probably couldn’t have gotten a job at a fast food joint if they checked out any references, but we allow him to buy as many guns as he wants." Loughner legally bought the gun he used to shoot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 19 other people at a Sportsman’s Warehouse in November of last year. It was a semi-automatic pistol with a high capacity magazine – a weapon that was illegal in the United States from 1994 until 2004 when George W. Bush did away with the Federal Assault Weapons Ban. And Arizona has among the laxest gun controls in the country.

Last year – the State Legislature – yes, the same legislature that passed the “papers, please” immigration law – also passed a law allowing gun owners to carry concealed weapons in public without a permit. And in 2009 – allowed people to even carry guns in a bar. Alcohol and guns – a great mix. According to the NRA – Americans own more than 250 million guns – far more than any other country in the world. And in terms of gun violence – the numbers are staggering. As the Brady Campaign points out – in one year - 39 people were killed by gun violence in the UK, 200 in Canada, and more than 9,000 in the United States. Besides changing our political rhetoric in the country – I think it’s pretty clear we need to change our gun laws too.

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