The following is an op-ed piece by former Legislative Aide to Council District 25....
By Scott Harrington
Anti-second amendment legislators are once again taking advantage of a tragic shooting to rally support for stricter gun control laws. On the morning of the shooting, Jared Loughner left his house carrying his 9mm Glock and stopped by Wal-Mart to purchase ammo before attending a public meeting hosted by Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Allegedly, it is believed that Loughner attended the meeting with the intent on assassinating the congresswoman. The mass murderer fatally wounded six people including a nine year old girl and wounded fourteen other people including his attended target.
My prayers go out to all the victims and survivors of those who were fatally wounded. My sorrow can’t comprehend what these families are going through and I cannot offer enough words to comfort their loss.
As part of the healing process, it is only natural for us to review the events of this tragedy in an effort to understand why this happened and, most importantly, what could be done to prevent such future tragedies. Inevitable, the focus will turn to gun control.
I must disclose that I am a gun owner and posses a (CCDW) carry concealed deadly weapon permit. I became a gun owner two years ago and assume the responsibilities that go along with exercising my second amendment rights.
Some lawmakers, in my opinion, are taking advantage of the Tuscon shootings to advance their gun control agendas. For example, Kentucky Congressman John Yarmuth (D) in an interview encourages his colleagues to consider banning assault rifles. Loughner used a hand pistol, not an assault rifle.
Representative Darryl Owens (D) wants to ban individuals from carrying handguns in the state capitol building. Kentucky Revised Statute 527.020 already prevents concealing a weapon to “Any meeting of the governing body of a county, municipality, or special district; or any meeting of the General Assembly or a committee of the General Assembly, except that nothing in this section shall preclude a member of the body, holding a concealed deadly weapon license, from carrying a concealed deadly weapon at a meeting of the body of which he or she is a member.” In addition, persons issued a CCDW permit cannot bring a gun to a school, government building, courthouse or other buildings where federal laws prohibit carrying a concealed weapon.
Representative Jim Wayne (D) is considered one of the most anti-guns legislators who will surely use the Tucson shootings as a tool to gain support for his bill that mandates destroying firearms used in a commission of crime. Wayne has supported all anti-gun legislation and I foresee him introducing more limiting public policy in the months that follow.
On the other side of the debate, lawmakers are looking towards guns as a means of self-protection. In an interview with The Washington Post, Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz (R) and Tennessee Representative Steve Cohen (D) both are considering carrying a concealed weapon in light of the Tucson shootings. Ironically, Cohen added that he would not carry a gun to public events though. Virginia Congressman Morgan Griffith (R) is considering applying for his permit since he acquired his newly elected position.
Keeping the American public safe is a tremendous responsibility so I commend all legislators who are mentioned in my article for taking the time to carefully review this matter. No politician or their supporters should have to fear for their safety when exercising their right to assemble. But at the same time lawmakers must act accordingly to preserving our constitutional right to bear arms.
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