The Los Angeles Times has published an inane and irresponsible piece of political commentary about the recent mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado. This time it's cartoonist and columnist David Horsey, blaming the NRA for the bloodbath, both in writing and in a cartoon depicting a callous Wayne LaPierre quipping "I hope the guns weren't harmed."
Let's also consider the statistics that show deaths caused by guns, including suicides, are more common in regions of the country where gun laws are the most lax. Let's have a reasoned discussion that acknowledges the right to bear arms and also recognizes that every one of our liberties has a limit. Let's try to craft sensible gun regulations that promote public safety in circumstances we can predict, even if they cannot stop the unpredictable, random horror of a gunman who has slipped past the boundaries of civilized life.
Why do conservatives not want to have that discussion now? I'll tell you why: Because they have let the most extreme elements of the gun-rights community dictate gun policy for the entire country and now they are afraid to cross them. For conservatives, this is not the time for a discussion about guns because, no matter how much blood is spilled, even in preventable circumstances, it is a discussion they never plan to have.
I have a news bulletin for Horsey. Suicide isn't illegal. Taking your life with a gun doesn't make suicide any more tragic than by overdosing on pills, hanging yourself, or sticking your head in a gas oven. It's just that suicide-by-gun includes an implement that the left loves to hate.
As to an "assault weapons ban," is Horsey aware that , such weapons are used in only 1-2% of all murders. What's more, fully-automatic and select-fire weapons are illegal for civilian ownership. Assault weapons as they are called are just semiautomatic versions of military-issue weapons. They are perfectly sensible for sporting purposes (firing range competitions) and come in real handy in a chaotic rioting or looting scenario.
What's more, more "sensible gun laws" would not have stopped Holmes in the first place. Holmes had no history of mental illness, nor criminal record at the time he purchased his weapons.
Colorado is an open-carry state, but it permits businesses to bar concealed carry on their premises, safeguarding the private property rights of business owners. The theater which Holmes shot up, was, you guessed it, a gun-free zone.
Lastly, Horsey lambasts conservatives for arguing "this is not the time to have a discussion about guns." Apparently it's never too early to jump into politics when you have a fresh tragedy to capitalize on.
Horsey even admits that, as former former FBI agent Peter Ahearn told the Associated Press, "there's no way you can prevent it. There's absolutely no way."
Even so, Horsey can't shake the liberal impulse to do something, anything, even if it's a symbolic and ineffectual "assault weapons" ban that, if it were in effect, would still have left Holmes with other deadly weapons that he, as a law-abiding citizen, had every right to have.
Correction: Fully automatic/select-fire weapons that are registered as transferable to civilians fall under regulation by the National Firearms Act of 1934. This means that, after correctly filling out an additional application and having it approved by the BATFE, and paying a one-time $200 transfer tax, a citizen could freely purchase such firearms from any properly licensed dealer. (http://www.atf.gov/firearms/nfa/)
Fully automatic weapons are not illegal, but are difficult to obtain and expensive.