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Semi-automatic assault style rifles on display at a gun show in Virginia.
Gabrielle Giffords was a gun-owning, Second Amendment advocate—the Congresswoman from Arizona, a state with perhaps the most lenient gun laws in the country, had at one point owned a Glock pistol, which is the same model of gun that was used to shoot her and 20 other people on Saturday. Among the many public policy issues that will be debated in the aftermath of the shooting, which gravely injured Rep. Giffords and killed six others, is gun control and whether any specific legislation or better enforcement of existing laws could have prevented or otherwise mitigated the damage done by the shooter Jared Lee Loughner. The ammunition magazine used by Loughner carried 31 bullets in it, enabling him to shoot 20 people in roughly 15 seconds—that clip could have been restricted in its availability if the assault weapons ban bill, which expired at the end of 2004, was renewed. Arizona is also one of the few states that permits residents to carry concealed weapons without a permit, which could have played a role in stopping Loughner’s rampage. Will the shooting of Rep. Giffords and her constituents have any impact on future gun laws?
Rep. Jane Harman, D-CA’s 36th District; member of the House Committee on Homeland Security & ranking member of the Intelligence Subcommittee; member of the Blue Dog Coalition
Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
Erich Pratt, communications director for Gun Owners of America