In the wake of the tragedy in Tucson, The New York Times has published several news stories, letters to the editor and Op-Ed columns on the subject of gun control.
I have read most of them and would like to pass on some quotes that grabbed my attention.
U.S. Rep. Peter King, a New York Republican, who has proposed a bill that would outlaw taking a firearm within 1,000 feet of a member of Congress:
“This kind of legislation is very difficult…The fact is Congress has not done any gun legislation in years. Once you get out of the Northeast, guns are a part of daily life.”
U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, a New York Democrat, who has proposed a bill that would ban large-capacity ammunition magazines, like the one Jared Loughner used:
“This is not a gun control bill. I like to use the word ‘gun safety bills.’ And this one just addresses the narrow issue of these clips.”
“Any kind of bill the N.R.A. is against is always a problem.”
U.S. Rep. Mike Pence, an Indiana Republican:
“I maintain that firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens makes communities safer, not less safe.”
Erich Pratt, director of communications for Gun Owners of America:
“I think after the November election it’s going to be very tough for Carolyn McCarthy and even the Peter Kings (to get legislation passed). Why should the government be in the business of telling us how we can defend ourselves?
“These politicians need to remember that these rights aren’t given to us by them. They come from God. They are God-given rights. They can’t be infringed or limited in any way. What are they going to do: limit it two or three rounds. Having lots of ammunition is critical, especially if the police are not around and you need to be able to defend yourself against mobs.”
Carol Delaney, professor emerita of cultural and social anthropology at Stanford University, in a letter to the editor:
“Bills have been proposed to allow students and professors to take guns to school. What professor won’t worry about giving failing grades when an angry student can march into his office and shoot him? Is this a civilized society or a resurgence of the Wild West?”
Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times columnist:
“The only country I’ve seen that is more armed than America is Yemen. Near the town of Sadah, I dropped by a gun market where I was offered grenade launchers, machine guns, antitank mines, and even an anti-aircraft weapon. Yep, an N.R.A. dream! No pesky regulators. Just terrorism and a minor civil war.”
Congress on Wednesday echoed with speeches honoring those shot in Tucson. That’s great — but hollow. The best memorial would be to regulate firearms every bit as seriously as we regulate automobiles or toys.”
Gail Collins, New York Times columnist:
“Different parts of the country have very different attitudes about when it is appropriate for citizens to carry guns. There is nothing that would make me feel less safe while shopping than the knowledge that my fellow bargain-hunters were packing heat.”
“If Loughner had gone to the Safeway carrying a regular pistol, the kind most Americans think of when they think of the right to bear arms, (Gabrielle) Giffords would probably still have been shot and we would still be having that conversation about whether it was sane idea to put her congressional district in the cross hairs of a rifle on the Internet. But we might not have lost a federal judge, a 76-year-old church volunteer, two elderly women, Giffords’ 30-year-old constituent services director and a 9-year-old girl….”
Bob Herbert, New York Times columnist:
“More than 30,000 people die from gunfire every year. Another 66,000 or so are wounded, which means that nearly 100,000 men, women and children are shot in the United States annually. Have we really become so impotent as a society, so pathetically fearful in the face of the extremists, that we can’t even take the most modest of steps to begin curbing this horror?
“Where is the leadership? We know who’s on the side of the gun crazies. Where is the leadership on the side of sanity?
“If we were serious, if we really wanted to cut down on the killings, we’d have to do two things. We’d have to radically restrict the availability of guns while at the same time beginning the very hard work of trying to change a culture that glorifies and embraces violence as entertainment and views violence as an appropriate and effective response to the things that bother us.”