In the wake of the January 8th shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the United States stood still as the different aspects of the story unfolded. Although the shooter was identified as Jared Loughner, his motivations of committing the crime remain unclear. As the nation was overcome with shock and disbelief, several lawmakers monopolized on the opportunity to use the tragedy to their political advantage.
Many details remain unknown to this day. Without hesitation or knowing all parts of the story, Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) hastily prepared gun-related legislation and began the fight to have it passed and signed into law. While other organizations were waiting until everything was known about the case before issuing a response, H.R. 308, Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act, was introduced on January 18th, only ten days after the shooting.
“In the wake of these kind of incidents, the trick is to move quickly.,” said Kristen Rand, the legislative director of the Violence Policy Center, a group that works closely with McCarthy’s office. Not letting a crisis go waste, gun control advocates raced to introduce H.R. 308 a mere ten days after the shooting while the veil of emotion is pulled over the eyes of the American people.
H.R. 308 is designed to place a ban on any “large capacity” firearm magazine. “Large capacity”, as defined by the bill, is a magazine that “can accept more than 10 rounds of ammunition.” The bill does not work to completely eliminate large capacity magazines, only stop their production, importation, and transfers. If passed, any magazines that were purchased prior to the law being implemented would still be considered legally owned. It is impossible to prevent criminals from illegally acquiring firearms, let alone magazines that can’t be traced.
Today, the majority of handguns are equipped with a magazine that doesn’t meet the specifications required by H.R. 308; they can hold more than 10 rounds. These magazines are not the, so-called, dangerous aftermarket accessories that anti-gun politicians are making them out to be. If H.R. 308 is signed into law, it wouldn’t only affect aftermarket parts, but also the standard equipment that comes with many weapons on the market today that are designed for self-defense and target shooting.
It seems as if guns always find themselves in the middle of various political debates. There have been countless attempts to pass the buck for onto guns, which are ultimately a tool, for the shortcomings of society. In an attempt to lower crime, there have been thousands of laws passed affecting firearms and firearm ownership.
Keeping weapons out of the hands of criminals should be at the forefront of reducing firearm-related crimes. There is no doubt that there must be some laws governing firearms in the United States, such as the laws that require the use of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) in all firearms sales. Even the National Rifle Association, who has been deaminized by McCarthy, supports passing more laws that prevents from criminals obtaining firearms.
Rep. McCarthy became involved in politics after her family became victims of a tragic mass shooting aboard a commuter train. The shooting left her husband dead and her son critically wounded. After the shooting, she launched a campaign pushing for more gun control and eventually ran for the United States Congress.
It is important to note that the racist mass-murderer, Colin Ferguson, that killed McCarthy’s husband, did not use a large capacity magazine. Ferguson walked onto the Long Island Rail Road train with his weapon and a large bag filled with 160 rounds of ammunition. The magazine belonging to Ferguson’s weapon, a Ruger P series handgun would not be banned under H.R. 308. Criminals would still be able to stock up on legal magazines and commit crimes. Banning large capacity magazines would not have prevented the Arizona shooting that motivated H.R. 308.
Rep. McCarthy believes that H.R. 308 “…is common sense gun legislation”. McCarthy, who does not have tangible training or experience with firearms, is not qualified to make such a determination; she is out of touch with the millions of law-abiding citizens that legally own a firearm. McCarthy was motivated to run for office because of the tragedy that completely changed her life. Such misfortune makes it impossible for her to render an objective decision on anything regarding gun violence. Her political career was fueled by the emotional baggage that she has on a single issue.
On the other side of the argument, there have been countless instances where a law-abiding citizen used a legally obtained weapon to save a life. The standard magazines that are included with many of the firearms purchased today are considered to be large capacity according to H.R. 308. In cases of self-defense, this standard equipment is designed to give the owner a fighting chance against multiple assailants.
Since the Supreme Court of the United States has already ruled that the second amendment, the right to bear arms, is an individual right, anti-gun politicians can no longer attack the firearms. Instead, they work to put as many speed bumps, such as H.R. 308, as possible for the firearms industry and law abiding gun owners. Instead of attacking the tool used in a crime, lawmakers should focus on attacking what really causes people to commit these crimes.