Let's start with full disclosure: I own guns, a rifle, several shotguns, and a hand gun. I am not anti-gun, and I am pro-gun control. By that I mean that I favor restricting gun ownership to weapons and ammunition that can legitimately be used for sport, hunting, or self-defense. I see no reason why anyone would need an automatic weapon or ammunition that can punch a fist-sized hole in an armored glass window.
That's what the Tucson shooter was using - what I would consider a legitimate weapon to have (a Glock 9mm) and ammunition way beyond anything anyone would need for self-protection. I try not to picture the effect of that ammunition on a 9-year old girl or a Congresswoman's head. I try not to, but I'm not succeeding.
I know, I know - he could have done damage with a .22 loaded with target rounds, but not as much damage and not as easily. That's not the point. By caving in consistently to the NRA's loony obsession with having absolutely no restrictions on ownership of guns and ammo, Congress has sent a message that anything goes. Not that murder is OK per se, but that even if you're certifiably nuts, you can freely own enough firepower to do as much damage as your twisted mind desires. That's just wrong.
In case you think that I'm exaggerating the influence of the NRA on our weak-kneed legislators, there has not been a full-time Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and (wait for it) Firearms since George W. Bush was in office. The NRA blocked his attempt at appointing one and has successfully kept the Bureau disempowered ever since. Nobody wants the job because of the unrelenting opposition they will experience from the NRA. Democrat, Republican, it doesn't matter - for the NRA, unrestricted freedom to own weapons of mass destruction (OK, not mass - just 9-year old girl and Federal Judge destruction) supersedes politics, party and, apparently, any rationality at all. Why?
Cross-posted in the North Lake TahoeBonanza Column.