Days after the Tucson shootings, Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) spoke out against calls for increased gun control, arguing that there should have been more guns at the site of the massacre. “I wish there had been one more gun there that day in the hands of a responsible person, that’s all I have to say,” Franks said.
Last night on MSNBC during an interview with Franks, host Lawrence O’Donnell noted that the alleged shooter, Jared Loughner, was subdued only after he stopped to reload his 31-bullet clip and argued that perhaps other innocents would have been spared if Republicans had extended a law banning larger magazine clips in 2004. But Franks refused to entertain that scenario, and just simply said that he wished Loughner never purchased a gun:
O’DONNELL: I’ll ask you again — do you wish Jared Loughner’s magazine only held 10 bullets instead of the 31 that he fired?
FRANKS: And I will tell you again, sir, that I wish he had not had a gun at all.
O’DONNELL: So, you’re not going to answer that question about the magazine? Will you answer the question about the magazine? […] Your constituents in Arizona would have been better off if Jared Loughner, by law, could only fire 10 bullets?
FRANKS: See, I think that that presupposes he couldn’t have changed clips or all kinds of things.
O’DONNELL: He couldn’t change clips because the colonel was there to stop him, because those heroes in that parking lot were there to stop him. We saw him try to change clips, and he couldn’t do it. That’s what stopped him.
FRANKS: Well, I give every credit to those who stopped him. But I will say to you again to blame the gun rather than the individual is why we continue to have these problems.
O’DONNELL: I blame the individual for the first 10 bullets. I blame the law for the next 21 bullets that he fired.
Watch the segment:
Franks “wishes” Loughner didn’t have the capacity to harm as many people as he did. But instead of advocating for tighter gun laws that would prevent the Jared Loughners of the world from having access to unnecessarily deadly arms, Franks wants to absolve himself of any power he has to do something about it. And at the same time, he wants more people to carry more guns, particularly in situations such as the shooting in Tucson.
As Slate’s William Saletan noted, having armed citizens in a similar situation could likely create more chaos:
In the chaos and pressure of the moment, you can shoot the wrong person. Or, by drawing your weapon, you can become the wrong person–a hero mistaken for a second gunman by another would-be hero with a gun. Bang, you’re dead. Or worse, bang bang bang bang bang: a firefight among several armed, confused, and innocent people in a crowd. It happens even among trained soldiers. Among civilians, the risk is that much greater.
However, the facts remain that the carnage in Tucson earlier this month could have been mitigated to a degree if Laughner had fewer bullets to work with.
In an interview with NBC, Vice President Cheney, an avid hunter, said “maybe it’s appropriate” to limit the size of gun magazines.