The NRA Claims That the Government is to Blame For Tucson Shootings

Submitted by Lawrence Rafferty, (rafflaw) Guest Blogger


You may recall that after the horrible Tucson shooting massacre, I wrote a piece for this blog suggesting that it might be a good time to consider banning deadly weapons and the high-capacity magazines of the type that the alleged killer used on that fateful day.  It was a difficult issue, but I thought then and still think now that it is an important issue that needs to be discussed by not only us, but by the American public through their Representatives and Senators  in Congress.  With that prior posting in mind, I was shocked to read a story earlier this week about the president of the National Rifle Association, Wayne LaPierre, who blamed the shootings on government policies in a recent speech to the CPAC conference on Thursday, February 10th

You did read that correctly.  The head of one of the biggest lobbying organizations in the country went in front of those “reasonable and moderate” CPAC members and made the claim that it wasn’t guns or ammunition that caused the deaths of 6 people and the wounding of 13 bystanders.  “LaPierre said U.S. gun laws provide more protection to killers like the Virginia Tech and Tucson shooters than to the victims of their attacks, and suggested the current environment puts women at risk for rape. He condemned “gun-free zones and anti-self defense laws that protected the safety of no one except the killers and condemned the victims to death without so much as a prayer. “Government policies are getting us killed,” he said. “ CBS

Mr. LaPierre goes on to give the usual response that guns don’t kill people, people do.  He even suggested that if people with guns were there they could have prevented some of the death and destruction.  I guess he didn’t bother to read that one gentleman who was packing a gun at the event, almost shot one of the people trying to subdue the alleged killer.  Doesn’t he know that people can carry a concealed weapon already in Arizona?  Where is this “gun-free zone” that he was referring to?  It certainly wasn’t in Tucson. I also am confused how the Virginia Tech shooter was aided by the government?

Why is it asking too much to limit even the size of a magazine?  Why does the NRA continually blame government policies that weren’t even applicable in the Tucson shootings?  Wouldn’t it make sense to at least discuss making it harder for mentally ill people to buy guns legally?  Why does anyone listen to the NRA at all?  As usual, I have more questions than answers, but I was hoping you would help me!

Submitted by Lawrence Rafferty, (rafflaw), Guest Blogger

86 thoughts on “The NRA Claims That the Government is to Blame For Tucson Shootings”

  1. Jason:

    If the issue is the nature and scope of gun restrictions then we are on the same page. Reasonable people can differ and if I erroneously asserted that you are an absolutist, you have my apologies as well.

  2. rafflaw:

    It’s easy outside of common areas to be gun free in my state, you simply put a sticker on the door to your workplace announcing it’s a gun-free zone, and by law I must respect that. Amazingly, many businesses, the vast majority in fact, do no such thing. Why would you advertise to criminals who possess a gun illegally that you are a gun free zone? Believe it or not, that is the dynamic.

    In common areas however as I said, your fears to not circumscribe my civil right.

    There are huge amounts of laws relating to firearms, and those laws are sometimes laxly enforced or not enforced at all. There are some areas (Philadelphia comes to mind) where excuses like parking tickets area use to deny carry permits, something I believe is a pretty flimsy excuse for denying a fundamental right. In former times especially in the South, exactly the same tactics were used to deny blacks permits to own arms in the face of KKK attacks.

    I advocate treating gun issues with fairness and and reasonable law, understanding it is a fundamental right, contained in the Constitution like freedom of speech. And I see most problems with guns as a law enforcement issue – we need to enforce the laws we already have – straw purchases, the NICS database and the mentally ill, criminal possession of guns – all these are already illegal but either not enforced or broken in some way by failure to report. I’m even open to the idea of opening the NICS database to private sales (currently by law only gun dealers have access, but many dealers will do a good citizen deed and use the database to see if a transfer would be approved if a party requests it). Those private sales, between two private parties living in the same state, are the famous ‘GUN SHOW LOOPHOLE’ which sounds good when Rachel says it, but is just a fiction – there is no gun show loophole, just private owners and they hardly need a gun show to to go through a transaction.

    So I’m perfectly willing to talk about gun laws, but abrogating a fundamental civil; right is to me something that only happens in totalitarian states. And BTW, Switzerland just voted, and they’ll keep their fully automatic assault weapons at home, thanks – by a 57% margin.

  3. QUOTE “The United States leads the world’s richest nations in gun deaths — murders, suicides, and accidental deaths due to guns.”

    Its like comparing surfing accidents in Hawaii to those in Arizona.

    So where’s the rest of the countries?

  4. My son is the same way, he thinks “less guns = safer”.

    Then there are his “what if” arguments…you can justify any argument using these.

    He finally said we would agree to disagree…..I told him the problem is that he had never had a situation where he needed a gun, while I have.

    And once you DO get in a situation where you NEED one, you are grateful as hell to have it…

    So thanks, but no thanks Mr Rafferty

  5. 25 years murder-free
    in ‘Gun Town USA’
    Crime rate plummeted after law
    required firearms for residents

    In March 1982, 25 years ago, the small town of Kennesaw – responding to a handgun ban in Morton Grove, Ill. – unanimously passed an ordinance requiring each head of household to own and maintain a gun. Since then, despite dire predictions of “Wild West” showdowns and increased violence and accidents, not a single resident has been involved in a fatal shooting – as a victim, attacker or defender.

    Read more: 25 years murder-free in ‘Gun Town USA’

  6. Elaine,
    I knew you could handle it, but I had a couple of issues to discuss with him anyways! I figured everyone else was asleep already! 🙂

  7. rafflaw,

    “It may have been the Army who informed Mubarak that he should go, but why did they suggest that? Because of the hundreds of thousands of people who would not go home until Mubarak left.”

    You answered 43 north for me. Would the army have ever suggested to Mubarak that he had to go if it hadn’t been for all the demonstrators who demanded that Mubarak must go? I think not.

  8. 43north,
    I think I failed to respond to one of your comments earlier today.(at 4:01pm) I apologize. I am glad that you like my “cycling garb”. I also do try to stay hydrated and I am more secure with cars and SUV’s because I know that the little bit of mandatory training that drivers must have is more than what it takes to own a gun. I also know that my car offers some limited protection in case of an accident, but it is tough to stop a bullet with my Lycra,no matter how fast I pedal.

  9. 43North,
    It may have been the Army who informed Mubarak that he should go, but why did they suggest that? Because of the hundreds of thousands of people who would not go home until Mubarak left.
    You are right that it will be interesting to see if the Army really relinquishes their control to a democratic government.

  10. Elaine M wrote:

    “I know it’s not over. My point was that hundreds of thousands/millions of Egyptian people didn’t have to use guns or high-power weapons to oust Mubarak.”

    Actually it was the Army, who informed Mubarak: “Time to go…”.

    The real test is yet to come: Who will tell the Army the very same thing, and what will be the result?

  11. Mandel,
    I almost forgot to respond to your earlier comment. I am confuses as to when I stated that you can’t have a gun because I don’t like them. I only stated that I prefer not to have one and for other to not have the ability to carry a concealed weapon around me. I did not say that you can’t have a gun or that all guns should be banned, but significant restrictions should be made to make sure we are doing our best to control who is able to buy them and what kinds of guns and ammunition is available.

  12. mespo727272-

    We’ve debated these issues before with the same authorities and counter-authorities. You have to face the realization that you are advocating an absolute right to carry any type of gun to defend yourself.”

    No I don’t. And to prove it….

    “I advocate reasonable restrictions against handgun ownership by the mentally unstable,”

    So do I. I just need to hear the particulars.


    I’m fine with that and that’s already the law just about everywhere.


    Unsupervised carry by children? Of course I’m against that. I’m also in favor of harsher punishment for adults who allow their kids access to their guns resulting in someone being hurt, accidentally or not.

    “those seeking to establish an arsenal,”

    Are you saying that no one should own more guns than you think necessary? That makes no sense. Who determines the number? What reasoning will set the number? There’s a huge number of collectors with massive collections who have never and never will commit crime with them.

    “those who us eguns to harrass or threaten,”

    I agree and that’s already the law in most states in one form or another.

    I have advocated harsher penalties for illegal gun possession and going after straw purchasers. Not to mention the use of a gun in a crime amplifying the sentence. I don’t know how you could infer from anything I’ve posted that I was a 2nd Amendment absolutist.

    Also, if I mistakenly inferred that you are in favor of banning handguns, it came from this: “No one needs a handgun for protection.” My apologies if I misinterpreted that.

  13. Jason,
    Your FBI stats tell us nothing about gun violence going down because of the concealed weapons and also do not tell us that someone carrying a gun prevented a violent crime as you stated yourself so the stats are meaningless. You mention 2 or 3 Republicans have restricted some guns out of how many laws? I think you are overstating your position by quite alot on that subject. Yes I would prefer that people not be allowed to carry concealed weapons because their are too many crazy people who do not have the training to use them in the situations that the NRA likes to claim that they are needed in. I never claimed that I had the answer to the mentally ill issue, but the NRA does not want any restrictions period. So I guess your approach is the same that we should just keep allowing mentally unstable people to be able to buy deadly firearms? Your statement that my preference to not have people carry concealed weapons is similar to the Patriot Act? Please explain that further. I can’t see any sense in your comment. I would like to further comment that even Justice Scalia has stated that common sense restrictions on guns would be acceptable to the Supreme Court,but I guess you and the NRA disagree with that.
    that is a good point about Egypt. Of course, we have to have all types of semi-automatic guns to protect ourselves and to insure we can overthrow a tyrannical government.
    Well said! Adherence to the rule of law is something that would protect citizens much more than the 2nd amendment.

  14. Otteray Scribe,

    I know it’s not over. My point was that hundreds of thousands/millions of Egyptian people didn’t have to use guns or high-power weapons to oust Mubarak.

  15. Elaine: It ain’t over yet. Do not count coup until a new and stable government is in place. Only then can the revolution be analyzed.

  16. Jason:

    We’ve debated these issues before with the same authorities and counter-authorities. You have to face the realization that you are advocating an absolute right to carry any type of gun to defend yourself. That would make the Second Amendment the only absolute right in existence in any society. I advocate reasonable restrictions against handgun ownership by the mentally unstable, felons, children, those seeking to establish an arsenal, those who us eguns to harrass or threaten, and by many other persons unqualified to handle the responsibility of owning a deadly weapon. To me, guns enjoy no greater or lesser status than automobiles, which are much more useful in our daily lives, are just as dangerous, and require both registration and training before operation. Guns enjoy no favored status in the Constitution over this means of interstate travel, however, for some reason, the gun crowd sees it as the bulwark against government-borne oppression of the population. Given the disparity between the weaponry available to you, and that available to the government, I’d say that is wishful thinking at best. You might want to dedicate at least some of that passion in service to gun ownership absolutism to something that actually does rein in government over-reaching — adherence to the rule of law. It’s much more effective and doesn’t line the pockets of the gun lobby as they waiving the banner of freedom to garner even more blood money from a somewhat gullible population.

  17. mespo727272-

    “No one needs a handgun for protection.”

    Attention everyone who ever defended yourself with a handgun, you actually didn’t need your gun.

    “They are inaccurate,”

    At any reasonable distance for self defense, they are for the most part extremely accurate. If you want to harp on the fallibility of the humans handling them, that’s cool, but most handguns will put a round within an inch or two of where you wanted it to go (assuming of that you operated it correctly).


    Some are, most aren’t. But that’s true of rifles, shotguns, etc. Mine was $625 which is nowhere close to cheap.

    “and require considerable training to use without killing yourself or unintended targets around you.”

    What? You do know that there are over 200,000,000 guns in the U.S., right? Less than one tenth of one percent of them will ever be used to shoot someone. It does not take considerable training to avoid shooting yourself and innocents, following the “four rules” makes accidents virtually impossible, and they can be learned in five minutes.

    “The right to self defense predates written law and I see no constituency for its abolition. The means and methods to self-defense are not absolute (else we would all be entitled to atomic weapons) and reasonable restrictions on these means and methods in service to society as a whole are both prudent and necessary.”

    But if you prevent me from using the most effective means of self defense, you are all but telling me I don’t have the right at all. Pepper spray, stun guns, and tasers all have unacceptable shortcomings. Handguns aren’t perfect, but they are the current best option. If a Star Trek phaser is invented, one that knocks someone out in an instant and kills no one, I’ll be happy to switch.

    “The best way to reduce the homicide rate in the US (and Mexico) is to end the War on Drugs.”


    I would like to see you sources for the claim that conceal an carry gun states’ violence has decreased and is violent crime defined as including guns(?),”

    I’m using the FBI Uniform Crime Report. Their definition of violent crime covers murder and non-negligent homicide, forcible rape, and aggravated assault. I picked Texas and Florida as they are the two most populous states to pass shall issue laws, but you would see the same results with pretty much every CC state.

    Texas passed shall issue in 1994. At that time, the violent crime rate was 663.9 per 100,000 people. As of the last completed report (2009), it is 490.9.

    Florida passed shall issue in 1987. The rate between then and now is 1024.4 and 612.5 respectively.

    But that’s all beside the point; it doesn’t prove that CC reduces crime. In many cases, crime was already going down when CC was enacted. But it didn’t turn the country into a blood drenched nightmare either.

    “and that most of the gun restrictions were passed by Republicans.”

    I said many, not most. Ronald Reagan kicked it off in California with the passage of the Mumford Act in 1967. George H. W. Bush banned the import of so called assault weapons in 1989. In New York, Rudolph Giuliani and George Pataki went after guns big time. Reagan steps in again and signs the legislation that closed the machine gun registry and banned guns in national parks (hilariously enough, Obama signed the bill that lifted it) and he campaigned for the Brady Bill. Nixon hated guns, and George W. Bush would have re-enacted the assault weapon ban if it made it to his desk.

    “so I guess he is an exception to your statistics.”

    Yep. In the last 20 years, violent crime has dropped 36% nationally.

    “I will not be carrying a gun, I do prefe if noone else does to. I can’t require that, but I would feel a lot safer.”

    This is the thinking behind a lot of bad laws (think PATRIOT act). Not actually being safer, but *feeling* safer.

    “I understand that it is possible some mentally ill people would somehow find illegal weapons or supplies, but I am sure it would be reduced significantly.”

    Again I have to ask, how are you going to do it?

    “Would the accused shooter in Tucson, Mr. Loughner gone to that extreme if the extended magazines were not available legally? He bought everything else legally.”

    He might have gone with a few more normal mags. He might have gone to a “New York reload,” carrying several already loaded guns. He might have used explosives or tried to summon demons, we have no idea what would have happened. All we can say for certain is that things would have gone differently, not better or worse, had he not had high-cap magazines.

    Stamford Liberal-
    “And when it does happen, and it will,”

    Again, why guess what might happen instead of looking at what has happened? Concealed carry has been the law in the majority of the U.S. for quite some time. It’s now shall issue or effectively so in 41 states and Wisconsin may soon switch. Many people have already defended themselves, but that side of the ledger never seems to mean anything.

  18. “Since I will not be carrying a gun, I do prefe if noone else does to.”

    Which is where the problem lies. Your fears do not circumscribe my civil right. If you want to address the issue of crazy people in society and their access to all kinds of items, we can talk. If you think your right to live without fear of ever seeing a gun or being in a situation where one might be present, I know of several nice totalitarian states where the only gun display you will see is in the hands of the state, which of course is perfectly safe. Burma and North Korea come to mind.

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