Gun-control advocates are pushing a bill in Congress to ban high-capacity ammo magazines, but it seems obvious the legislation won’t get anywhere anytime soon. President Obama and many congressional Democrats are wary of inciting the National Rifle Association lobby heading into the 2012 elections, and there will be scant if any support from GOP lawmakers.
The man held in the Jan. 8 Tuscon shootings used a high-capacity magazine with his Glock semi-automatic. The magazine allowed him to get off 31 shots without reloading. He was subdued while reaching for a replacement clip, according to news reports. Six people were killed and 13 wounded in the attack.
Supporters of the ban also are latching onto a comment by former Vice President Dick Cheney that outlawing high-capacity magazines may be warranted. If even Cheney, an NRA champion of old, will give the thought of a ban the time of day, it has to be a good idea, right?
Another bill would make it illegal for people to be armed within 100 feet of a building or location being attended by a member of Congress. The sponsor cited several instances in which people have been found to be carrying firearms near the president and other elected officials over the past two years. Exceptions would be made for law enforcement personnel.
Other items of interest since the Tuscon shootings include a new poll that shows Americans remain deeply divided on gun control. This underscores the likelihood of gridlock on gun issues in Congress. Meanwhile, interestingly, there are new studies that challenge gun advocates’ assertions that more guns equate to more safety.
While gun control measures are at least getting some exposure nationally, in Utah the opposite is true. Rep. Carl Wimmer, R-Herriman, is pushing a bill that would eliminate concealed weapons permitting. And Rep. Curt Oda, R-Clearfield, has presented a bill allowing people to shoot feral animals.
Given the increased hard-right GOP dominance of the Utah Legislature, I think the Wimmer and Oda bills both have a real chance of passing, if they make it out of committee to the House floor.