Giffords Shooting Provokes Debate On Arizona Gun Laws


After the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), gun control activists slammed Arizona for its gun laws that allow almost any adult who can pass a federal background check to purchase a firearm, reports Jared Lee Loughner, the alleged gunman in an incident that claimed the lives of six people and injured 13 others legally purchased a semi-automatic pistol in the state, the Washington Post reported.

Paul Helmke of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence said he hopes the incident will “start a discussion on what we can do to prevent these things from happening.” “It's a state that has very weak gun laws. It's a state almost where they encourage people to carry guns with them,” Helmke said. “You've got a dangerous situation.” Helmke called it a moment to review federal laws. The extended magazine the gunman used for extra bullets may have been illegal under the federal ban on assault weapons, which expired during the Bush administration, Helmke said. Others disagreed. Asked if Arizona's more lenient standards may need to be strengthened, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said, “No, I don't think so. Weapons don't kill people; it's the individual who kills people.” In April, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed a law that allows citizens to carry a concealed gun without a permit, joining Alaska and Vermont as the only states with such a law.

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