In the wake of the Tucson tragedy, politicians from both sides of the aisle have called for a more civil discourse in our political debate. On CBS’s Face the Nation this morning, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said, “There is a lack of respect in our dialogue. … We shouldn’t mistake passion for advocacy. In other words, passion is necessary in this debate that we’re having, but we’ve got to make sure it doesn’t spill over into personal attacks and impugning people’s character or patriotism.”
On ABC’s This Week, new Tea Party-backed Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) struck a different tone. He argued that restraining violent rhetoric — such as invoking “job-killing” during the health care repeal effort — would be unwise because it means “the shooter wins”:
The shooter wins if we, who’ve been elected, change what we do just because of what he did.
Lee’s argument is disingenuous because it suggests that lawmakers shouldn’t reflect on whether the shooting incident highlights any real need for political change. In fact, lawmakers should consider whether to curtail the ability of gun owners to purchase high-capacity magazine clips.
The Washington Post reported this weekend that the expiration of the ban on high-capacity magazine clips since 2004 has led to a proliferation of those weapons being seized by police in the course of investigations. “Last year in Virginia, guns with high-capacity magazines amounted to 22 percent of the weapons recovered and reported by police. In 2004, when the ban expired, the rate had reached a low of 10 percent. In each year since then, the rate has gone up.”
Who “wins” when there’s more weapons of mass casualty on the streets?