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.