Two truisms about America: 1) There's no such thing as bad publicity and 2) There are second acts in American life...
After a Glock-wielding gunman killed six people at a Tucson shopping center on Jan. 8, Greg Wolff, the owner of two Arizona gun shops, told his manager to get ready for a stampede of new customers.
Wolff was right. Instead of hurting sales, the massacre had the $499 semi-automatic pistols -- popular with police, sport shooters and gangsters -- flying out the doors of his Glockmeister stores in Mesa and Phoenix.
“We’re at double our volume over what we usually do,” Wolff said two days after the shooting spree that also left 14 wounded, including Democratic Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who remains in critical condition.
It's not too different from the surge in gun and ammo sales that we saw after Barack Obama was elected president in 2008. People -- who obviously haven't been reading a newspaper for the last decade -- think that the government is going to ban certain kinds of guns, and so they rush out to buy them while they think they still can. Also, there's probably a warped mentally that if the Glock that Jared Lee Loughner used was able to strike so many targets -- also known as human beings -- then "maybe this is the gun for me."
Once upon a time in America -- and I'm talking about the late 1990s and early 2000s -- it was in fact illegal to purchase the extended magazine that Loughner used in his Tucson shooting spree, the magazine that allowed him to fire 33 times and hit 20 people without reloading. I'm not a hunter myself, but I'm not aware of the scenario where you need to mow down 33 deer in one herd in a matter of seconds. In other words, it seems like the only actual purpose of the extended magazine is to kill a lot of people in a matter of seconds, and that is something that private citizens do not need, nor -- in my opinion -- is a right guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment.
America allows citizens the freedom to move around the country as we wish, but there are common sense restrictions on how you do that; outlawing a 12-year-old or a legally blind person from getting behind the wheel of a two-ton automobile, for example. Gun use should be no different -- this can be a basic right for citizens that is not fundamentally impinged by restrictions on the more ridiculous aspects of firearms, such as a handgun that can kill so many people in such a short time.
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy of Long Island, N.Y., who entered politics when her husband was fatally gunned down in a mass killing on the Long Island Rail Road, is sponsoring legislation that would re-impose the ban on extended magazines like the one used in Tucson. I cannot think of a better concrete action to come out of this tragedy, and I plan to crusade for this legislation here at Attytood in the weeks to follow. It is certainly the least that we can do about senseless gun violence.