|Clinton & Charles Robertson|
The Tucson shooting will doubtless prompt calls for new gun control measures in Georgia and across the country. Arizona, like Georgia, offers citizens the rights to own and carry weapons legally. Georgia requires a firearms license, but a new law in Arizona allows residents who are over 21 years old to carry weapons without a permit.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Joseph Zamudio was legally carrying a 9mm semiautomatic pistol at a Walgreen’s near the Safeway store where the shooting occurred. Mr. Zamudio heard the shots and ran toward them. “In that moment, I didn't think about it. I just reacted,” he said.
Mr. Zamudio saw “almost a smirk” on the shooter’s face. By the time he was in pistol range, other bystanders had knocked Jared Lee Loughner, the shooter, to the ground. Zamudio assisted in restraining him. “If I'd gone down there sooner, maybe I could have shot him myself,” Mr. Zamudio said. If he had been closer, or if other armed and law-abiding citizens had been in the crowd, Loughner’s spree might have ended sooner and lives might have been saved.
According to the NRA, there are forty right-to-carry states. Arizona and Alaska are the only two states where no permit is required. Studies show that where law-abiding citizens are allowed to own and carry legal guns, crime is reduced. Quite simply, criminals don’t like to prey on people who can fight back.
Ironically, it appears that Mr. Loughner also carried a legally purchased gun. Although there are laws against selling guns to those who are mentally ill, or in Arizona, to anyone who “constitute(s) a danger to himself or others,” Loughner had never been found to be mentally incompetent. His college had requested Loughner to take a mental health screening. Instead he dropped out and law enforcement was never informed.
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