Sunday, January 9, 2011

Jared Loughner - Too Crazy for College But Not Too Crazy To Buy A Gun

22-year-old Jared Loughner has been arrested and charged with five federal criminal counts, two counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder, in the Tucson, Arizona shooting that wounded Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.

Loughner lives at home with his parents. A review of his criminal record shows only a few, minor infractions. He was arrested in 2007 for possessing drug paraphenalia, a case that was later dismissed, he was cited for running a stop sign, and in 2008 had a "local, non-criminal charge" that was also later dismissed.

His time at Pima Community College tells a different story. In 2010 he had multiple run-ins with the campus police after causing disruptions in the classroom and the library. He responded by posting a YouTube video declaring that the college was illegal under the U.S. Constitution. Ultimately, the college suspended him and said he couldn't come back until he got a mental-health clearance and proved he wasn't a danger to himself and others.

On November 30th, Loughner walked into the Sportsman's Warehouse in Tucson and legally purchased a Glock 19 semiautomatic handgun. Because Loughner had no criminal record and had never been committed against his will to a mental institution had no problem passing the instant background check. Arizona is one of three states that has no permitting requirements for carrying a concealed weapon, he could, therefore, legally carry the gun into the Safeway parking lot on Saturday.

Loughner loaded the Glock with an extended magazine that is capable of holding up to 33 rounds of ammunition. These high-capacity magazines had been banned before Congress allowed the federal assault weapons ban to expire in 2004.

He opened fire on a gathering of people who had come to greet Congresswoman Giffords. In a matter of seconds Loughner killed six people and injured 13 more. He shot the Congresswoman once in the head, "through and through." The bullet went through her brain "from back to front."

Loughner emptied the extended magazine into the crowd. As he went to reload his gun a middle-aged woman grappled the ammunition away from him and two men jumped on him and wrestled him down.

Lawmakers are rethinking security practices in the aftermath of the shooting. What they should be rethinking is the easy access to guns that pervades this country. What kind of system is this where Loughner was found too crazy to attend college but not too crazy to buy a gun?


  1. Hopefully this will be a wake-up call to her colleagues on Capitol Hill for more common-sense legislation, like a reinstatement of the assault weapons ban, mandatory background checks, and gun registration. And let it also be a wake-up call to us, everyday people, to turn our back to our dangerous gun culture.

    See my blog for more thoughts:

  2. Sorry but you are wrong.

    The violent thug lied on the form 4473 when he stated he was not a drug user.

    His purchase was illegal.

    You focus on the tool but why?
    Would it matter if he stabbed everyone? Or are you saying that 1, 2, 3, + murders are okay but not 6?

    He could have used a bomb like the Uni-Bomber or in the case of the Oklahoma City Federal building.

    Focus on the person - he needed help.

    His family did not get him the help he needed.

    He needed help yet the sheriff did not work to get him the help he needed.

  3. Bob,

    Just so we're all clear on this point - gun control DOES NOT MEAN ban all guns.
    We focus on the tool because it's sole purpose is to kill. As such, we have an obligation to our communities to do our best to ensure that only responsible people are allowed to possess firearms.

  4. Ohh Shoot,

    First intent is not transferable.

    The firearm does not know if it is being used for target shooting -- my only use of them so far -- or if it is being used to murder a person -- the criminals use or to save the life of a victim.

    Second, who gets to decide who is responsible?

    You? Me? What standard are you judging by?

    I thought we already had laws to address that. If you misuse a firearm it is called breaking the law. Break the law, get caught, go to jail.

    Are you saying you want to pre-judge people actions?

    Then there is your obligation to follow the Constitution For the United States and your individual state constitution.

    You do care about obeying the law, don't you?

    And lastly, since you brought it up -- what guns do you want to ban?

    What characteristics would put a firearm on your ban list?

    Detachable magazine? Capable of taking more than a 10 round Magazine? Small enough to Conceal? Too big -- no one needs a .500 caliber pistol?

    Would it matter to the 6 dead in Tucson if they had been killed with 6 single shot pistols?

    Would the wounded be less wounded if they had been shot with double barreled derringers?

    And lastly, can you show any evidence that gun control has actually worked -- you know reducing the crime rate?

  5. Bob,

    All excellent questions. I look forward to answering them when time permits.
    Some questions for you - are there gun restrictions that you agree with? Like prohibiting felons from possessing? And if so, how do you propose to stop this from happening? Preventing a felon from getting a gun is different from punishing them after the fact.

  6. Ohh Shoot,

    My answer was too long and was killed by the system (and my mistake) when I tried to submit it.

    I'll make a post of it for tomorrow.