Americans, Gun Laws, and the Arizona Shootings

Below is a post I made to a private Facebook discussion that occurred in response to my Tweet above. I truly know very little about gun laws in the USA, or even much about them in Canada, but every time a violent person kills others with a handgun, the question of where did he get that handgun from comes up. It’s always a valid question, but it seems no matter how many people get killed by handguns in the USA, nothing changes.


OK, so I spent 10 minutes trying to re-find an article that I read yesterday and couldn’t…but in this article, it stated that the gunman went into Sportsman’s Warehouse that day and purchased a Glock and ammo, and I believe a 30 round magazine. Assuming that’s accurate, right there I have a few problems: being able to purchase a handgun immediately = disaster.

Handguns are either for killing someone else (or a lot of other people), or defending yourself from being killed. The decision to purchase a gun to commit violence shouldn’t be a fast, rash one. Giving someone permission to carry something on their person that can be easily concealed (regardless of what the law says about concealed weapons) should be a measured, controlled process, with only the most vetted of people being allowed to purchase one.

It should be a process that takes days or weeks, not minutes. It seems like the system failed on a bunch of fronts here based on what Vinny wrote – that if various people in law enforcement had done their jobs, he’d never have been able to purchase a gun because he would have failed his background check. Putting that aside though, the basic premise that you can go into a store and leave a few minutes later with a handgun and ammo is insane to me. Humans are emotional, rash creatures who make stupid decisions and making it quick and easy for someone to buy a gun is a massive mistake.

Why shouldn’t handguns simply be banned? Or why aren’t biometric measures required for handguns? The technology to prevent unauthorized firing of a handgun have been there for years, but the gun makers aren’t using them because it would drive down their profits. Can you imagine all the accidental firearm deaths of children if handguns were only able to be fired by the owner of the gun? It would also prevent things like that 17 year old kid last week who took his dad’s gun (who is a cop) and killed the principal and assistant principal.

I get that crazy, violent people will be crazy and violent no matter what. But why should it be so EASY for them to get their hands on something so finely tuned for dealing death? If he had purchased a shotgun or rifle from a hunting store, at the very least it’s a weapon that you can usually see someone coming at you with, and they typically have limited magazine sizes. I read that the 30-round extended magazine on the Glocks were outlawed in Arizona a few years ago, but then that law was overturned. Because, yeah, 10 bullets in a handgun is just NOT enough, you NEED to have 30 bullets in there. Am I the only one that thinks that’s completely bonkers?

And, not surprisingly, I heard today that handgun sales in Arizona are up 60%…and one retailer reported that his sales of Glocks doubled. So in a sadly typical response to gun violence, more guns are being put on the street, which can only lead to more violence.

I think very highly of the USA in many ways, but when it comes to your passion as a country for guns, I just don’t get it.