Bishop John Bryson Chane has written an op-ed for the On Faith section of The Washington Post's web site imploring our national leaders to get serious about public safety and begin restricting access to fire arms:
Arizona's guns laws are some of the weakest in the nation. The state recently repealed its concealed weapons law which required the gun owner to have a permit to carry a concealed weapon. In Arizona, anyone 21 years or older may carry a concealed weapon without a permit. The owner is even permitted to carry a concealed weapon into an establishment that serves alcohol so long as they do not drink, and can carry a weapon on school grounds when picking up a student so long as the gun is not loaded and the owner remains in his or her vehicle.
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence rates each state on the strictness of its gun control laws. In 2009 Arizona earned just 2 points out of a possible100. Statistics from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms lists Arizona as a significant exporter of guns seized in crimes committed in other states. In 2009 1,637 guns purchased in Arizona were used in crimes committed elsewhere.
State and Federal firearms laws are so disconnected and inadequate that the Congress must now summon the courage to address amending the Second Amendment to better reflect how that Amendment relates to a society and culture that is quite different from that of 1791 when our nation was still in its infancy. This is politically difficult, but failure to act means more innocents will die in the future due to gun violence.
Virginia Tech, Columbine High School, Tucson, President John F. Kennedy, The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., Bobby Kennedy, countless law enforcement officers, innocent citizens and disaffected youth in our cities: How many more will die before the Congress of the United States and the highest court in the land stand up to the gun lobby, put aside their political ideologies and differences and exercise the wisdom and courage necessary to address what has become the shame of our great democracy?
But at Slate, Amanda Marcotte writes that we've been through this cycle before and it always plays out in the same mind-numbingly brainless way:
Mass shootings like the one that injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killed six others on Saturday have sadly created a routine in our culture. The shooting happens. Calls for gun control are issued and then put down with empty slogans like, "Guns don't kill people. People kill people." Politicians, afraid to provoke emasculation fears and eager to play up their own juvenile cowboy masculinity, won't even engage the issue in large numbers. And so we wait for another mass shooting, impotent to do anything to stop it.
As Gail Collins makes clear, the lip-smacking nonsense "guns don't kill people" makes no sense in light of a shooting where the assailant had the sort of weapons that were no more imaginable to our Founding Fathers than space travel---weapons that can discharge dozens of rounds within minutes with remarkable accuracy. Sure, people kill people, but their reach is pretty limited if they don't have that kind of technology. Try choking two dozen people to death in a crowded area and tell me that's going to work just as well as unloading a semiautomatic Glock.