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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Guns aren’t the solution to gun violence

In the United States, firearms are easier to come by than adequate mental health treatment. Nowhere else in the world could an unhinged 22-year-old purchase a semiautomatic pistol and high capacity magazine.

Unfortunately, gun control legislation will come no time soon. The gun rights lobby and its right-wing henchmen have derailed almost every attempt to reasonably restrict gun ownership, and they show no signs of letting up. Even in the wake of the Columbine and Virginia Tech massacres, two of the deadliest school shootings in American history, efforts to revamp gun laws were largely unsuccessful.

Maximalist pro-gun organizations like the National Rifle Association and conservative politicians intent on “”protecting the second amendment”” are part of the reason why America is the most heavily armed nation on earth and leads the industrialized world in gun-related homicides.

And if you thought pro-gun sentiment would be tempered in the wake of the shooting in Tucson, think again.

Second amendment advocacy groups and pro-gun members of Congress have used the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the deaths of six Americans to justify their absurd “”more guns equal fewer crimes”” argument.

In the immediate aftermath of the Tucson tragedy, the Arizona Citizens Defense League (AzCDL) drafted the Giffords Zimmerman Act “”in honor”” of Giffords and her aide, Gabriel Zimmerman, who was killed in the rampage. The legislation would require the Arizona Department of Public Safety to train and arm all elected officials and their staffs.

“”What happened at the Safeway plaza shows why it’s so important for people to be armed,”” Charles Heller, co-founder of the AzCDL, told the Los Angeles Times.

Republican Rep. Louie Ghomert of Texas plans to introduce legislation that would allow members of Congress to carry concealed weapons in Washington, D.C., including at the Capitol building and House floor.

Ghomert believes the measure will “”deter people from attacking members.””

And while he has neither proposed nor endorsed any gun legislation since the Tucson shooting, Republican Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District has also joined the chorus of pro-gun absolutists.

“”I wish there had been one more gun there that day in the hands of a responsible person,”” Franks told reporters in response to a question regarding the shooting.

But Franks is apparently unaware of the fact that there was another gun in the hands of a responsible gun owner on that fateful day.

Joe Zamudio ran to the scene with his hand on the butt of his pistol, “”ready to kill him.”” But the man who he wrestled to the ground was not the shooter.

Zamudio had mistakenly targeted one of the innocent bystanders who had managed to disarm and restrain Loughner before he could reload. If Zamudio had shot this man, the death toll that day would have been even greater.

The massacre in Tucson should not be used as a justification for expanding gun rights, and pro-gun radicals who have sought to politically profit from this tragedy should cease and desist. What this country needs now more than ever is gun control. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle must set aside their differences and come together on this issue.

Guns aren’t the solution to gun violence. Those who believe otherwise should listen to Zamudio’s story.

— Nyles Kendall is a political science junior. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

 

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