TUCSON — “I have a Glock 9 millimeter, and I’m a pretty good shot.”
The quip, by Representative Gabrielle Giffords, was made in an interview last year with The New York Times, when tensions were running high in her district. It speaks not only to her ability to defend herself but also to the passionate gun culture in Arizona, which crosses political lines and is notable for its fierceness, even in the West.
Indeed, the federal judge who was killed on Saturday in the shootings here, John M. Roll, had his wife and many people who worked with him take lessons at the Marksman Pistol Institute, an indoor range downtown. One of the doctors who operated on Ms. Giffords after the shooting rampage was a member of the Pima Pistol Club, an outdoor range where federal and local law enforcement personnel were practicing on Monday.
Arizona’s gun laws stand out as among the most permissive in the country. Last year, Arizona became only the third state that does not require a permit to carry a concealed weapon. The state also enacted another measure that allowed workers to take their guns to work, even if their workplaces banned firearms, as long as they kept them in their locked vehicles.
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In Tucson, Guns Have a Broad Constituency
Anyone that has read my blog more than once or twice already knows, I am a gun owner, a gun user and I am a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
For those few that may not be familiar with the Second Amendment, it reads;
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
The PEOPLE, as in We, The People. That’s us, you and me, and every other law abiding citizen of these United States of America.
Laws have been written that prohibit certain individuals from owning a firearm, starting with those who are convicted felons.
Anyone who has been convicted of a felony is banned by federal law from ever possessing “any firearm or ammunition.” Specifically a person “convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year” cannot possess any firearm in any location. 18 U.S.C. 922(g) is the federal law that prohibits anyone ever convicted of any felony to ever possess any firearm either inside or outside of his home. The federal punishment for felon gun possession is up to 10 years in prison.
There are many other federal gun ownership restrictions. For example, a conviction for a misdemeanor domestic battery results in a loss of gun rights. A person who is the subject of an order of protection may not possess a weapon. In light of the 2008 case of District of Colombia v. Heller, such restrictions may now have Second Amendment implications. A good summary is available from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. SOURCE
I won’t begin to list ALL states and their various prohibitions regarding gun ownership by those that exhibit some form of mental illness. Here in Texas, there is criteria found referencing prohibition of gun ownership for those judged to be mentally ill.
Texas law prohibits the ownership and carrying of guns by those with certain psychiatric diagnoses, including schizophrenia, delusional disorder, bipolar disorder, chronic dementia, dissociative identity disorder, intermittent explosive disorder, and antisocial personality disorder. In addition, gun restrictions are in place for five years following an involuntary psychiatric hospitalization, inpatient or residential treatment for substance abuse, diagnosis of alcohol or drug dependence, or diagnosis of mental illness by a licensed physician. SOURCE
That all seems pretty straightforward and easily understood. Right?
So, given the rather well written laws on the books that restrict felons and the mentally ill from owning a gun, how then, do so many of them have guns in their possession? Especially the mentally ill, or borderline insane?
Felons don’t BUY a gun, they STEAL a gun, it’s that simple. With the mentally ill it’s quite different, take Jared Loughner and the recent shooting he is accused of for instance.
Loughner is said to have exhibited some sort of mental imbalance, he was advised to seek the help of a mental health professional. Had he done so, he would have, in all probability, been on the registry for those prohibited from gun ownership because of there mental state.
Loughner did NOT seek that help, and apparently, his family and friends didn’t pursue the issue regardless of the signs he (Loughner) may have been exhibiting.
The system didn’t fail here, Loughner’s friends, family and the college official that recommended he seek help didn’t follow through and get him the much needed help he required. Those are the people that failed Loughner, and by doing so, failed the public as well.
I know, Jared Loughner was the shooter, I know, he bears full responsibility for his actions, that is not at all what I am trying to say here. I am simply saying that those who knew Loughner failed to respond to his mental instability. Perhaps, had they done so, Loughner would not have been able to obtain a gun, at least, not legally.
Now we see another example of the ignorance of the media, the New York Times in particular.
Gun magazines that hold more than 10 rounds were banned under the federal assault weapons ban until the statute expired at the end of 2004. Today, just six states and the District of Columbia limit the sale of such magazines.
Mr. Loughner was carrying two extended magazines that held 31 rounds each, as well as two “regular” magazines that were not high-capacity, when he opened fire with a semiautomatic pistol on a crowd outside a Tucson supermarket on Saturday, said Deputy Erin Gibson, a spokeswoman for the Pima County Sheriff’s office. She added that deputies later recovered 31 shell casings.
The magazines that Loughner had in his possession were NOT 31 round magazines. The MSM, in their ignorance, and lack of gun knowledge, doesn’t know that the 31 rounds mentioned is from a fully loaded magazine in the pistol and 1 round chambered in the pistol itself.
Thus, in reality, and in proper gun vernacular, it’s a 30+1 weapon, NOT a 31 round magazine. I also know that the anti-gun folks will call this simple semantics, but it’s not, it’s a statement of facts, and facts are something the MSM seems to leave out of their articles all too often.
Yes, a 30 round magazine is indeed a high capacity magazine, and I have a difference of opinion with a few of my gun owning friends and colleagues regarding 30 round magazines for general use. I personally see NO NEED for a private citizen to have a 30 round magazine in a pistol, but that’s just me. I also fail to see the need for a private citizen to own fully automatic weapons, but I have friends and colleagues that do own them, and take them out to a gun range and shoot them from time to time.
If that’s what these folks WANT to have, fine, I am all for it, for them, it’s just not MY thing. I must also point out, the people that I know who actually OWN fully automatic weapons, own them legally.
Now, here’s another point of contention between gun owners like myself and the gun grabbers, by definition, I own high capacity magazines for my pistols.
By the standards of the now expired Assault Weapons Ban, a firearm was not to have been capable of holding more than 10 rounds total in ammunition. California still has that law in effect. But, what some call high capacity, I call a good fit for a great pistol.
My Springfield XD-45 Tactical has a 13 round magazine, and with a round chambered, and a full magazine in place, I am carrying a pistol that has 14 rounds, in hand. That is why I stated that if my friends want, or feel they need a 30 round magazine for their pistols, it’s OK by me, I just don’t need one for any of my weapons. High capacity is a matter of choice.
The argument over high capacity magazine, gun ownership, mental illness and all other factors being brought to light by this tragedy in Tucson have NO easy solutions. The gun grabbers can, and will make a renewed effort to limit magazine capacity, and if possible, ban ALL legal gun ownership in America. Legal ownership.
Here’s what the gun grabbers, the libber left, the bleeding heart ‘if no one had guns, we wouldn’t need guns’ moonbats don’t seem to understand; they can take ALL legal weapons out of the hands of the American citizen, they can close every legal gun outlet in America, they can ban high capacity everything and force ammunition manufacturers to shut down. Third world nations will still be making guns and ammo. Guns will NEVER go away.
And for what it’s worth, I can take the most radical anti-gun moonbat to South or East Dallas and show them that for $500 I can walk away the proud owner of a full auto-loading AK-47 with 30 round banana magazines and all the ammo I can carry.
So much for banning guns, magazines and ammo…