It’s past time for us to do something to get guns out of the hands of crazy people. But it won’t happen, because we’re collectively bat-guano nuts ourselves.
I’ll just say it: The Arizona shooter (I’m not going to use his name because I’m already sick of the publicity he’s receiving) should not have been able to buy a 33-shot Glock handgun without a little government regulation. Even cursory gun purchase reviews that many states use might have at least made it difficult for him to get the Glock, but Arizona’s nonexistent gun laws allow deranged lunatics to arm up without trouble. The awful absurdity of this was nailed down succinctly by Richard Cohen today in the Washington Post.
I’m all for the Second Amendment, which aimed to keep flintlocks in farmers’ hands without any hassle. But two centuries later, we’ve got to try to keep crazies from their rampages with automatic weapons. Don’t we? If you don’t think so, tell me why not, and make it good. Just don’t expect the families of the Tucson dead to buy any of it.
The sickening truth is that no reforms will be possible, because the National Rifle Association lobby is so powerful. It controls Congress and many state legislatures. And it’s not just working to keep crazy people packing. The NRA’s even fighting hard to strengthen and protect the flow of American-made assault weapons into Mexico to arm drug lords’ armies. To appreciate the full revolting truth of that, read this excellent Washington Post package.
The NRA and its congressional flunkies have cowed the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to the point ATF is just a waste of taxpayers’ money. Gun-runners have free rein. In a sane universe, that would be wrong, but in ours, it’s justified as the right to bear arms and unfettered free enterprise, even if the gun exports are arming killers in Mexico.
While running arms to the bad guys in Mexico is bad enough, freely offering semiautomatic handguns to domestic crazies is worse. Our society is simply insane if it continues to protect the ability of homicidal crazy people to obtain firearms. The longer this goes on, the more sane people will feel the need to compile personal arsenals, and who can blame them? If the crazy guy up the block has a Glock, be ready for anything.
We’re at the mercy of the nuts with guns and the paranoid gun nuts who allow the excesses. The wimps in Washington will be no help, either. I think I’ll start watching for specials at the local gun stores. I’m not crazy.