“If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.”
That’s a common argument of the National Rifle Association, the massive lobbying group that keeps Republicans and Democrats cowering in fear, afraid to do anything substantial about rising killings and murders that pop up all too often on the evening news.
Columbine, Virginia Tech…and now Aurora, Colorado. How many more of these senseless killings have to occur before we do something about our armed society and its trigger-happy supporters of the the concept of a chicken in every pot and a gun on every hip.
I own guns: Pistols for personal protection and long rifles & shotguns for hunting. I have a concealed carry permit. I don’t own an AR or other assault-style weapons. I don’t buy into the incredibly stupid argument that an AR-15 is good for “hunting varmints.” Those who perpetuate those myths are all too often the same ones who like to dress up in camos and act tough on weekends.
James Holmes walked into two major chain stores — Bass Pro Shops and Gander Mountain — and purchased two Glock semi-automatic pistols, an AR-15 assault style rifle and a shotgun. He passed all the rudimentary background checks because that’s all they are: rudimentary. The Virginia Tech killer bought his guns legally too.
But Holmes was far from a law-abiding citizen. He was a time bomb about to go off. He went on the Internet and brought thousands of rounds of ammunition and a 100-round drum magazine for the AR — also legal under today’s watered-down laws.
Then he went online again and ordered SWAT-style gear from TacticalGear.Com, a Missouri-based company that bills itself as the “tactical gear superstore.” Their home page today features a link to a story about a customer who gave his wife a “Pink AK-47″ for her birthday.”
Did anyone at any of the online retailers wonder why a civilian was ordering all this ammo and gear like a bullet-proof vest, tactical helmet and gas mask?
Of course not. Making money does not require sound judgment or thinking. It only requires greed.
The now-expired Brady law, named after James Brady — Ronald Reagan‘s press secretary who was wounded in the assassination attempt in 1981 — prohibited sale of high capacity magazines and much of the ammunition purchased by Holmes. It was also supposed to prohibit sales of assault-style rifles but the gun industry found a way around the law by removing flash suppressors and limiting the capacity of the magazine.
Had the Brady law still been in effect, Holmes would have had more trouble obtaining the high-capacity magazines and special ammo that allowed him to slaughter people in that movie theater.
The Brady law would not have prevented James Holmes from walking into that movie theater and opening fire.
But it might have made it more difficult to amass such an arsenal of weapons, purchase so much ammo and fire at will into a crowd without having to stop and reload.
Maybe it’s time to look — at the very least — at bringing back the Brady law. Maybe it’s also time to think long and hard about how we became such a gun-crazy, trigger-happy society.