Former Rep. Gabby Giffords is no stranger to guns. In fact, as Dana Bash
writes for CNN, Giffords and her husband still own (and use) the same
type of gun, a 9mm Glock, that Jared Loughner used to shoot her in the
head at point-blank range in 2011. Giffords’s husband, retired astronaut
Mark Kelly, uses the Glock as target practice, also Giffords’s hobby
prior to the attempted assassination.
The main thrust of Bash’s piece for CNN is that Giffords could be
the ideal advocate for gun-control laws that make sense and balance competing
views. Some people argue that gun ownership is tantamount to a fundamental,
constitutional right, and want few restrictions on that right. Others
argue that semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines contribute
to greater violence.
Who better than Giffords, who continues to support gun rights, but was
herself attacked by a man with a gun, to push what appear to be reasonable
measures in the form of expanded background checks?
The risk, in this country, is a move toward severe and overly-broad punishment
when it comes to guns (and criminal offenses generally). We’ve seen
that with drugs and we’ve seen it with alcohol during Prohibition.
Not every gun offense, like failure to register a weapon, means that the
person charged deserves severe punishment.