As the GOP pundits line up in defense mode and the progressives cautiously criticize the tone of the right, everyone seems to be looking past the real issue: guns. There is no doubt that the Tuscon shooter was at least slightly fueled by the unchecked rhetoric from the Right, but that was just a squirt of lighter fluid on the already raging bonfire of hatred and vitriol smoldering in his head. The real issue, and what caused the most deaths, was the easy access he had to purchasing a firearm.
How many tragedies does this country need to experience before politicians allow themselves to have a conversation about sensible gun control? For a developed country, we have the most lax gun laws anywhere in the world and this is reflected in the United States’ ranking as #24 in the world for murders per ca-pita with no Western European countries even near us in the rankings. The reason? The unprecedented access we, as average citizens, have to guns.
Sure, the rhetoric from the Right may have played a role in the shooter’s motivation, but the the fact that he was kicked out of college, not allowed to join the Army but was still permitted to legally purchase a semi-automatic hand gun is astonishing. This shooter would have an awful hard time finding these types of guns if there was a national ban on assault rifles and semi-automatic pistols. Sure he might have still carried out these attacks, but one can only assume that it would have been with a less powerful weapon saving several people’s lives.
Let the hunters keep their rifles, but there is no reason any citizen should be allowed to purchase a semi-automatic Glock with an extended magazine because, let’s be honest, there are only two reasons to own a gun like that: To go on a shooting spree or to make yourself feel better because you have a small dick.