American Rifleman - April 2011 - 22

Tragedy in Tucson

ILA STORY

to harm a government official. Just as
obviously, they would impose extraordinary burdens on honest gun owners.
For the members of the House and
Senate alone, these bills would create as
many as 60 square miles of roving "gun
free" areas throughout the United States.
Just adding federal judges would increase
that to nearly 150 square miles, and there's
no telling how large the areas would be for
the other federal officials and tens of thousands of state and local officials mentioned
in the bills. Americans legally carrying
or transporting firearms under state law
would be at constant risk of prosecution
when they stumble across events they had
no intention of attending.
These ideas are even more
ridiculous when you consider
that the Tucson attack took
place only a few hundred
feet from a school-so under
the federal Gun Free School
Zones Act, the killer would
have had to break the existing
law when he traveled on public streets near the school to
get to the scene of his crime.
Clearly, the new proposals
Sen. Frank Lautenberg
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy
would have just as little effect
on this kind of tragedy.
found that at least 40 percent of felons
Just banning guns in some places isn't
acquire their firearms from "street/illegal
enough for U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, who
sources"-ranging up to 97 percent for
introduced a bill to destroy Right-to-Carry
criminals who attack law enforcement
laws throughout the country. Under
officers. And an attacker determined to
her bill (S. 176), every state that wants
commit mayhem can always use multiple
to allow concealed carry would have to
magazines, multiple guns or a more powrequire permit applicants to show that
erful gun that holds less ammunition.
they have "good cause" and are "worthy of
The magazine ban isn't the only idea
the public trust" to carry firearms-both
getting attention. There have also been
of which would be at the total, arbitrary
widely publicized proposals to ban posdiscretion of local officials. This would
session of firearms near public officials.
wipe out more than 30 years of legislative
For example, U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y.,
victories for gun owners, erasing "shall
has introduced a bill (H.R. 496) to ban
issue" permit laws in 35 states, as well as
possession of firearms within 1,000 feet
the permitless carry systems in Vermont,
of the president, vice president, cabinet
Alaska and Arizona.
members, members of congress, federal
Not to be outdone by those who
judges and even unconfirmed presidenactually hold federal office, New York City
tial nominees. Similarly, U.S. Rep. Laura
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his group,
Richardson, D-Calif., introduced H.R. 367,
Mayors Against Illegal Guns, used the
which would create a 250- to 500-ft. "gun
tragedy to push their own longstanding
free" zone around posted congressional
agenda of attacking all private transfers
events. Rep. Richardson's bill would also
of firearms. (That's an agenda that's irrelpunish states by taking away federal law
evant to the Tucson attack, since it's clear
enforcement grant money if they don't
that the accused killer bought his gun
create similar zones around state and
from a big sporting goods store.)
local officials.
They dressed up the proposal with
Obviously, these outrageous proposals provisions that would further restrict gun
would be ignored by anyone who intends ownership by lowering the standard for
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

AP Photo/Mel Evans

Anyone who's thought seriously about
armed self-defense knows why honest
Americans-private citizens and police
alike-choose magazines that hold
more than 10 rounds. Quite simply, they
improve good people's odds in defensive
situations. Contrary to what the public
sees on TV or in the movies, criminals are
not always stopped when struck with a
single bullet, or even multiple shots. And
one-third of aggravated assaults and robberies involve more than one assailant,
according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
While a ban would harm the law-abiding,
it obviously wouldn't affect violent criminals. After all, government studies have

18 A

PRIL

2011

WWW.AMERICANRIFLEMAN.ORG

mental illness or drug abuse needed
to prohibit a person from possessing
firearms-as well as the procedural protections against being considered mentally ill
or a drug user. But their centerpiece is to
require background checks on all firearm
transfers. For years, anti-gun groups have
called this the "gun show loophole"-since
"loophole" typically means any law the
groups don't like. Bloomberg and MAIG
would impose federal background check
requirements on all transfers, at gun
shows or anywhere else. Even gifts to most
of your relatives or any of your lifelong
friends would not be exempt.
In typical Bloomberg fashion, the cry
for imposing this new law was supported
by yet another set of "sting" videos, showing undercover investigators buying guns
from private sellers at gun shows. As with
similar Bloomberg efforts in the past, his
investigators' actions were sharply criticized by local law enforcement officials,
with Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne
complaining that Bloomberg's investigators failed to notify the Arizona State
Police. "The fact that no such notification
was made indicates this so-called sting
is nothing less than a public relations
stunt," said Horne, who also pointed out
recent sharp increases in the Big Apple's
crime rates and suggested that New York
officials "have more pressing crimes to
investigate than alleged violations at a
gun show 2,400 miles away."
Yet despite all their frantic activity, MAIG and other anti-gun groups
failed to get the recognition they really
wanted-that is, a mention in President
Obama's 2011 State of the Union address.
The night of the speech, White House
officials began promising a consolation
prize: a separate speech on gun control
at a later time. Although at press time,
no date or specific topics for a speech
had been announced, Newsweek reports
that President Obama will "make the case
that America's gun laws have been too
loose for much longer than just the past
few weeks." That's no surprise for those of
us who have followed Obama's support
of extreme anti-gun initiatives since the
beginning of his public career.
We'll have our work cut out for us dealing with anti-gun proposals and propaganda over the months leading up to the
2012 elections. As always, we're confident
that we can succeed with the support of
NRA's most powerful asset: the strength,
dedication and unity of our members.


http://WWW.AMERICANRIFLEMAN.ORG

American Rifleman - April 2011

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