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No wonder. When it comes to state gun control laws, one local gun-rights advocate told The New York Times , "we're at a reasonably well-settled point In Colorado, this fantasy persists even after the Columbine massacre and will persist now, just you watch. Even that day of horror in when our children murdered our children and a teacher in our public school-- did not meaningfully reverse the state's traditional affection for gun rights. The New York Times Saturday offered this context and perspective:. As a mountain state, Colorado has a history of broad support for Second Amendment rights.

But in the years since the Columbine tragedy, the state's lawmakers and voters passed some gun restrictions, including requirements governing the sale of firearms at gun shows, a law regulating people's ability to carry concealed weapons and legislation banning "straw purchases" of weapons for people who would not qualify to buy them legitimately Despite the changes over the past 13 years, Colorado law still prohibits local governments from restricting gun rights in several significant ways.

Moreover, gun rights organizations have successfully fought other efforts to restrict access to guns, including blocking a University of Colorado rule prohibiting concealed weapons on campus.

Under A Blood Red Sky

People in Colorado are allowed to carry firearms in a vehicle, loaded or unloaded, as long as the gun is intended for lawful uses like personal protection or protecting property. Carrying a concealed weapon requires a permit, but Colorado is among those states whose rules on permits are relatively lax, said Heather Morton of the National Conference of State Legislatures. So while the senator and governor were muted Friday, gun rights advocates, in and out of government, proclaimed before the bodies were even moved that one proper way to combat gun violence in movie theaters is to permit more people to bring guns into movie theaters.

Check out this chart. Trying to make meaning of the breadth of modern gun violence, trying to buck up its sad readership, and trying most of all not to say anything too pointed at this delicate hour, here's how The Denver Post put it Saturday in a house editorial :. Some observers are probably going to wonder whether Colorado is especially prone to incubate murderous madmen -- for lack of a better description -- who seek out innocent targets in public venues given the array of incidents in recent years.

Since alone, we've seen a year-old drifter take six female students hostage at Platte Canyon High School, killing one before he killed himself; a troubled year-old shoot two parishioners at New Life Church in Colorado Springs after having killed two other people the night before at a training center for Christian missionaries in Arvada; and a year-old open fire on students at Dear Creek middle school in Jefferson County before seventh-grade math teacher David Benke tackled and subdued him. Alas, there is nothing special about Colorado. In fact, it's almost by definition average.

It ranks 29th on the list of states affected by firearm deaths. Besides, these sorts of mass shootings happen everywhere in America.

Faith Ringgold | Under a Blood Red Sky | The Met

We are all Columbine. We are all Paducah. We are all Virginia Tech. We are all Tucson. We are all killing each other, and ourselves, at an astonishing rate, with a breathtaking array of firearms. I have a question or two: Are we supposed to feel better or feel worse because the alleged Aurora shooter, James Holmes, lawfully purchased all of his weapons and armor? And where in the Second Amendment does it ban the sale of tear gas grenades? That's why we are dropping missiles on the heads of terror suspects abroad, why we tortured men like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and why we can't close Guantanamo Bay.

This shift in focus-- from punishment to prevention, from the reactive to the proactive-- has sorely tested the Constitution. And it explains virtually every official act in the war on terror since the Twin Towers fell. Yet, evidently, its a concept that has no bearing on the gun debate. The total is times larger than the toll of September 11, Each year, since that day, approximately 30, people have been killed by firearms in America. Yet there has been no cry for state or federal policies of prevention over punishment, no loud call for a proactive rather than a reactive approach to gun violence.

Under a Blood Red Sky

Imagine how different America would be today if those figures tolled for acts of terrorism instead of acts of gun violence. Since September 11, , we have had not one but two United States Supreme Court rulings recognizing an individual constitutional right to bear arms. Both of these rulings, crafted by the Court's conservative majority, were nonetheless careful to contemplate the possibility of reasonable gun regulation.

But that assumes the political will to enact and implement such regulation-- and also to enforce existing gun regulations in an efficient and aggressive way. How many lives would be spared if law enforcement officials enforced existing gun laws as aggressively as they pursue the war on terror? We'll never know the answer to that question, will we.


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