I had a different subject in mind for my next blog post/diary entry, and in fact I did not intend to comment on the shooting of Representative Giffords in Arizona this last Saturday at all. But while driving to school this morning I heard a debate between radio show host Thom Hartmann and a representative of gunowners.com.
I absolutely must mention that I am, in fact, a gun owner. In fact, I own several. I have never pointed any of them at anyone, and hope that I never have to.
While listening to them, I felt they both basically missed the most important point: the NRA and gunowners.com both claim that people should be allowed to carry guns to protect themselves from bad people. Unfortunately for this argument, Arizona, where this tragic shooting took place, should have been the showplace for their argument. Arizona is one of three states that allow ordinary citizens to carry concealed guns without an additional background check beyond the FBI background check required to purchase the gun in the first place, or a permit from any local or state agency. Representative Giffords often carries a gun on her person (I do not know if she was carrying it when she was shot.) There was another person carrying a gun nearby, but he didn't get to the scene until the gunman had already been wrestled down by unarmed bystanders, and according to accounts, the gun-toting citizen almost shot the wrong person!
In short, having guns with extended magazines available to anyone did absolutely nothing whatsoever to make anyone at this event safer, and if that availability somehow didn't contribute to the tragedy, it easily could have.
So, the "Arizona Shooter" didn't just kill and wound all of those people, he also shot the NRA's argument full of holes.