Lax US gun laws in spotlight after lawmakers shooting

By Arun Kumar, IANS
Monday, January 10, 2011

WASHINGTON - As US federal authorities charged the suspect in the weekend shooting of a lawmaker at an Arizona political meet-and-greet, lax gun laws that allow Americans to buy weapons freely have again come under the spotlight.

Federal authorities have accused Jared Lee Loughner of opening fire outside a Tucson supermarket, where US Democrat representative Gabrielle Giffords was meeting with constituents Saturday. Six people were killed and 14 others wounded in the shooting.

Loughner, 22, has been charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder counts and attempting to kill a member of Congress, counts that involve the shootings of federal employees. He is scheduled to make an initial appearance before a federal magistrate Monday.

Giffords remained in critical condition Monday after being shot through the skull, while a federal judge, a congressional aide and a 9-year-old girl were among the dead.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post, arguing that “Saturday’s rampage does illustrate the need for tighter control of semi-automatic weapons and ammunition, suggested the long-lapsed federal ban on assault weapons, which prohibited such high-capacity magazines, should be reinstated”.

One of the fiercest gun-control advocates in Congress, Democrat member Carolyn McCarthy pounced on the shooting massacre in Tucson Sunday, promising to introduce legislation as soon as Monday,” as Politico, focusing on congressional politics, reported.

Gun control activists “cried it was time to reform weapons laws in the United States, almost immediately after a gunman killed six and injured 14 more, including Representative Gabrielle Giffords, in Arizona on Saturday”, it said.

But “congressional Republicans said Sunday that the weekend shooting…was not the result of lax US gun laws and that the incident should not result in tougher regulations” conservative The Washington Times reported.

The Post also said “there is considerable speculation about whether the tragedy will spark a stiffening of federal gun-control measures”, but noted: “The answer, based on polling and the aftermath of other similar episodes of broad-scale gun violence, is no.”

However, writing in the Huffington Post, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said: “I’ve built a coalition of more than 500 mayors from across the country — from both political parties — who are dedicated to fighting gun violence.”

It is an uphill struggle, but if all of us join it — if all of us speak out — I believe we really can make a difference and save lives,” he wrote.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at

Filed under: Accidents and Disasters

will not be displayed