01/14/2011 09:03 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Joe Klein On Arizona Shooting

As for gun control, a fever of excess has overtaken the country during the past 20 years. Even such a conservative stalwart as Judge Robert Bork said, in 1989, that the Constitution's Second Amendment guaranteed "the right of states to form militias, not for individuals to bear arms." But the National Rifle Association has waged a disastrously effective campaign in favor of the latter position -- and the Democratic Party has de-emphasized its traditional opposition. Even the right to bear assault weapons, which the founders couldn't have possibly anticipated, is now considered sacrosanct. In 2008 the Supreme Court ruled that local governments couldn't impose strict gun-control provisions. In Arizona, Loughner could simply walk into a gun store, buy his Glock and carry it about, concealed, without a permit. He could carry it into a bar, or a church. He carried it into a political rally. And used it.

Read more on TIME