There were hugs, kisses and praise galore for Representative Gabrielle Giffords as she left Congress. The only thing missing from the sendoff was any recognition that Congress owed it to her to act at least to prohibit the sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines that enabled her attacker to spew bullets right and left in the assault that wounded her and 18 others.
The assailant, Jared Lee Lee Loughner, was attempting to reload his weapon when onlookers brought him down. As Senator Frank Lautenberg said at the time, “The only reason to have 33 bullets loaded in a handgun is to kill a lot of people very quickly. These high-capacity clips simply should not be on the market.”
In a fit of temporary sanity from 1994 to 2004 Congress actually banned the clips. Lautenberg has been unsuccessful in getting Congress to reinstate the ban. Unebelievably, the Tucson massacre, which included a federal judge among the victims, has not produced a single measure to prevent a repetition.
Outlawing high-capacity ammunition magazines is the bare minimum congress should do.
Congress did though produce a pile of nauseatingly pious statements about Giffords. House leader Eric Cantor’s was typical: “We are inspired, hopeful and blessed…Gabby’s courage. strength and her downright fortitude are an inspiration to all of us and all Americans.”
Just not inspiration enough to put spine in Congress at least to-reenact the ban on murderous magazine clips. Perhaps it will require a crazed gunman shooting up both houses of Congress to accomplish that.