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?
Don't cite the sacred (to the NRA) Second Amendment to me – the Second Amendment is not about gun ownership. It says ""A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." I don't know about you, but I was taught in school that taking a part of a sentence out of the context of the sentence as a whole was dirty pool. The sentence in question says that the "right of the people to keep and bear arms" is in the context of the necessity of "a well regulated militia," not that the right to keep and bear arms is sacred, whatever the NRA says.
Now as I said, I'm not quite that strict a constructionist – I believe that people should be allowed to keep and bear arms for reasonable purposes like hunting and protection of their home and family. I believe that the armed forces, including the National Guard (read "militia") should keep and bear whatever arms are deemed necessary for protecting the "security of a free state" including automatic weapons, hand grenades, and flame throwers, but let's not mix up the two. I say again: there is no reason other than a confusion between (as they say in the army) "my rifle and my gun" to keep an AK-47 or armor-piercing ammunition at home. My .38 police special with standard rounds will dispatch any human threat just fine, and my rifle and shotguns are sufficient to deal with any animal threats, rare as they are. If not, the weapon I should be using is 911, not .38 or 30.06.
Get it: A little girl is dead. Her only mistake was wanting to see a Congresswoman who might be a role model for her to enter a career of public service. A distinguished Federal Judge is dead – his only mistake was being in the wrong place at a horribly wrong time. An elected representative of the majority of the people in her district lies in the hospital with brain injuries the extent and effect of which are unknown as yet. Her only mistake was wanting to give her constituents an opportunity to talk with her face to face. And a crazy SOB will plead insanity, and maybe rightly so, but speaking of insanity, how does the NRA plead?