Eliot Lear comments about this CNN article, which says that members of Congress are looking into increasing their own personal security, after the shooting of Representative Giffords. Eliot’s comment is this:
What about the rest of us?
This guy went in and legally bought a 9mm Glock with ammo, even though his friends and schools knew he was a little nutty. All of the dead people weren’t in Congress. They were collateral damage. What about them?
Indeed. It’s long past time to be looking at reasonable gun control, coming up with reasonable compromises between freedom to own guns and the danger which that freedom poses to society. Even a Republican congressman from Arizona, who probably supports the NRA and is against gun control, recognizes that allowing everyone to have guns is not a good idea. Here’s what Representative Jeff Flake says about threats to legislators:
But the danger is, some of these people you dismiss as crackpots, you know, a crackpot with a gun is dangerous, and that — that is worrisome. And I think what really hit home to all of us on Capitol Hill yesterday was that you’re not only putting yourself in danger if you ignore these kind of threats; you’re putting staff in danger, as well.
And not just your staff, Congressman. Film crews. Bystanders. Everybody.
Only, Mr Flake is, probably unintentionally, putting the blame on the right people for the wrong reason: it is, indeed, members of congress who are putting people in danger. But they’re not doing it by being out in public, by not having enough security, or anything like that.
They’re putting all of us in danger by not enacting legislation to limit the availability and use of guns.
Arizona passed legislation in 1994 that makes legal the carrying of concealed weapons. The shooter this weekend may have been carrying his gun legally. Even if not — if he didn’t have a permit — making it common to have people carrying guns makes it hard to sort out where the threats are and aren’t. The gun-carry proponents tout their ability to stop attacks with their own defensive weapons, but we can see how well that works in practice.
We can — and we will — fight about the Second Amendment and those pesky commas until we’re out of breath, but the reality is that we do restrict access to arms. We don’t allow certain types of weapons. Fully automatic military rifles are prohibited, and we don’t allow people to own, say, nuclear devices and other bombs. Those are arms, too. Some jurisdictions require licenses in order to own guns. Many don’t allow them to be carried around from day to day.
Until we put gun ownership in context and accept that more limitations on it are necessary for a free and safe society, we put everyone at risk.