Tucson Victims Among 30,000 Annual U.S. Gun Deaths
From the Economist on the Tucson shooting:
Opportunists who seek to gain political advantage by blaming the shootings on words would do America better service if they focused on bullets. In no other decent country could any civilian, let alone a deranged one, legally get his hands on a Glock semi-automatic. Even in America, the extended 31-shot magazine that Mr Loughner used was banned until 2004. As the Brady Centre, established after the Reagan shooting to commemorate one of its victims, has noted, more Americans were killed by guns in the 18 years between 1979 and 1997 than died in all of America's foreign wars since its independence. Around 30,000 people a year are killed by one of the almost 300m guns in America--almost one for every citizen. Those deaths are not just murders and suicides: some are accidents, often involving children.
The tragedy is that gun control is moving in the wrong direction. The Clinton-era ban on assault weapons expired in 2004 and, to his discredit, Mr Obama has done nothing to try to revive it. In 2008 the Supreme Court struck down Washington, DC's ban on handguns, and in 2010 Chicago's went the same way; others are bound to follow. In state after state the direction of legislation is to remove restrictions on gun use (those footling bans on bringing weapons into classrooms or churches or bars), rather than to enhance them.
I'm not sure what the Economist's definition of a "decent country" is, but I take the point to be that the U.S. far outpaces all other wealthy countries in both the rate of gun violence and overall homicide rate. Yet Americans continue under the delusion that guns keep us safer.