Last month’s tragedy in Tucson has spurred considerable discussion about gun control, an issue that always sparks lots of lively debate—which may be why the President refrained from talking about that in his State of the Union address last week. But I, for one, firmly believe that there is a need for greater gun control in this country.
I have recently become a supporter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and last week made a contribution to that organization in memory of Christina Green, the nine-year-old girl who was shot to death in Tucson on January 8.
Jim Brady (b. 1940), as many of you will likely remember, is a former Assistant to the President and White House Press Secretary under President Reagan. After being shot and nearly killed and becoming permanently disabled as a result of an assassination attempt on Reagan in 1981, Brady and his wife became ardent supporters of gun control.
In November 1993 during a White House ceremony attended by the Bradys, President Bill Clinton signed the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act into law. Paul Helmke, a former president of the United States Conference of Mayors, has been the president of the Brady Campaign since 2006. He expressed public regret that the President did not mention gun control in his speech last week.
In a January 26 posting on Brady Blogs (http://blog.bradycampaign.org), Helmke wrote, “It wasn’t the lack of innovation, education, or investment, too many regulations or too much debt that ended Christina’s life and her dreams—it was a clearly dangerous man who had way too easy access to a gun with a high-capacity ammunition magazine— good only for killing many people quickly.”
Earlier this month, Helmke spoke publicly in support of H.R.308, the bill Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives on January 18. That bill is called The Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act, and it would ban magazines that carry more than ten rounds of ammunition. Rep. McCarthy knows about gun violence: her husband was killed and her son injured in a 1993 shooting.
No one is saying that all guns ought to be banned. The use of guns for hunting and even the possessions of handguns for protection by responsible citizens can surely be considered legitimate. But there must be some limitations on who can purchase guns and some restriction on the type of guns, and magazines, that can be bought.
According to the Brady Campaign, thirty-four people a day are murdered by firearms in the U.S. That means that every three months more people are killed by guns in this country than were killed by the terrorist attacks on 9/11/01, Christina Green’s birthday!
We citizens of the U.S. remain outraged at the deaths caused by the 9/11 terrorists—as well we should. But why are we not more concerned about the far more than 100,000 people in this country since then who have been killed by gun violence, including a child full of promise named Christina?