Fisking Helmke

The Brady Campaign released another missive from Paul Helmke yesterday reacting to the shootings in Tucson:

Enough is Enough! Tucson Shooter, Arizona New Faces of Weak Gun Laws

Jan 9, 2011

Statement from Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence:

“The 22 year-old shooter in Tucson was not allowed to enlist in the military, was asked to leave school, and was considered “very disturbed” (according to former classmates), but that’s not enough to keep someone from legally buying as many guns as they want in America.

Jared Lee Loughner passed the NICS check conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System was mandated by the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993 and launched by the FBI on November 30, 1998.

Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, a Democrat, has blamed inflammatory rhetoric on the part of Tea Parties and conservative politicians for the tragedy. However, according to sources within his own Sheriff’s Department, they knew of Loughner and his threats as well as his mental illness. One of the reasons they were reluctant to do anything was because his mother was a Pima County employee.

Many people seem to find this surprising, but it’s true, and we ought to be angry about it.

The troubles of the Tucson shooter are more proof that we make it too easy for dangerous and irresponsible people to get guns in this country. We have too few laws to protect our families and communities from this kind of bloodshed, and the laws we do have are riddled with too many loopholes.

Arizona, as it turns out, has almost no gun laws, and scored just two points out of 100 last year on the Brady State Scorecard.

Since then, things have gotten worse. Arizona is one of only three states that allow residents to carry loaded, hidden guns without background checks. Arizona recently weakened its laws to allow guns in bars.

The State of Arizona believes in individual responsibility as well as constitutional rights. If the Loughner family had sought mental health care for their son, he might have shown up in mental health records and been denied under NICS. Mr. Helmke wants to blame everyone but the criminal’s family for not doing something to prevent this tragedy.

Joseph Zamudio, one of the bystanders that detained Loughner and who has been hailed a hero, was carrying concealed and went to provide help when he heard the shots because he was armed.

In addition, if Congress had not allowed the “Assault Weapons Ban” to expire in 2004, the shooter would only have been able to get off 10 rounds without reloading. Instead, he was able to fire at least 20 rounds from his 30-round clip.

Standard and large capacity magazines were available during the ten years the “Assault Weapons Ban” (sic) was the law. While no new magazines could be produced except for law enforcement or military uses, existing magazines were grandfathered and readily available. This would include 30-round knock-offs of the Glock 18 magazine. Even without a 30-round magazine, reloads can be done quickly and efficiently if practiced.

Sensible gun laws can save lives. Congress should move now to enact tougher restrictions on guns, ammunition, and who can legally possess them, and President Obama should help lead the way.”

Why does anyone still believe a “new” law would have prevented this tragedy? Madmen will do as madmen do and people are still going to get killed.


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