Thursday, January 13, 2011


Amid the many questions emerging after the tragedy in Arizona, there's only one that keeps on coming back to me: how can someone who was told he could not return to his school until he'd had a mental health evaluation have the legal ability to then go and purchase a Glock 9 mm semiautomatic, let alone any kind of gun?

I do not oppose gun rights. In fact, one of the men who helped tackle Jared Loughner, Joe Zamudio, said his handgun made him feel more confident to go back into the mall and help stop Loughner. But the complete lack of background checks for mental health or flags from police or the local community before purchasing an assault weapon is to me astounding.

When asked about whether he'd favor stricter gun control laws after the incident, Mitch McConnell said in Kentucky that Loughner would have gone ahead with his violence regardless of the weapon. However, it seems obvious that the amount of lives lost and injuries done, as well as the potential violence that didn't happen, would have been far lessened if this man had been checked and logically barred from purchasing assault weapons.

Loughner in my mind is now a poster child for a thorough background check before the sale of assault weapons. I would hope those who believe in gun rights also see that public safety is best served by having people's background checked before such purchases. Given the power of these weapons to easily take so many lives, it seems a reasonable request of the public.

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