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Saturday, July 21, 2012

The gun debate fires up again

Posted By on Sat, Jul 21, 2012 at 6:47 AM

SUSPECTS WEAPONS: News accounts say the Colorado killer carried, along with handguns, this Smith and Wesson M&P 223 caliber semi-automatic rifle.
  • SUSPECT'S WEAPON: News accounts say the Colorado killer carried, along with handguns, this type of Smith and Wesson M&P .223 caliber semi-automatic rifle.

The slaughter in Aurora, Colo., naturally rekindles discussion of gun laws. And also, more on that here.

The basic arguments never change. The U.S. Supreme Court — even the pro-gun Republican court — allows regulation. Why shouldn't there be more? Background checks for all rifle purchases, for example. (I should have specified here originally that I meant uniformly applied, including in private sales, and with cooling-off periods as some states apply on handguns.) Limits on sale of tactical weapons, such as the semi-automatic military-style weapon used in Aurora and once subject to a federal ban that expired. Limits on expanded ammunition magazines.

The other side says that all regulation is pointless, if not a constitutional abridgement. The outlaws will ignore the law. What's more, the suspected shooter in Colorado had no criminal record. No background check would have stood in the way of his recent purchase of legal weapons and 6,000 rounds of ammo.

It's clear there's no appetite from either presidential candidate or significant numbers of leaders of either party in Congress to take further steps.

But I would be interested in hearing from gun lovers on the ready availability of semi-automatic military-style tactical weapons with 100-round ammo drums, reportedly in the possession of the Colorado killer. Are these sporting necessities? And if they are, is there any reason, other than temporary inconvenience, not to subject purchasers to reviews given handgun purchasers?

I will now duck and cover.

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