- Cullman, Alabama

February 5, 2013

EDITORIAL: The 13th bullet

The Cullman Times

CULLMAN — The ongoing arguments about gun control and the size of ammunition clips should pause on one important point that surfaced last week.

Remember Gabrielle Giffords, the former U.S. House of Representatives member from Arizona? She was critically wounded at a shooting in Tucson, along with 13 others. Six people were killed. She has since regained some of her ability to speak and walk.

The crazed gunman, who had drug problems and other issues in his life, was able to buy a gun and carried two 33-round magazines. The first shot fired hit Giffords in the head. The 13th round struck a 9-year-old girl, Christina Taylor Green, who died.

Giffords’ husband, retired Navy Capt. Mark Kelly, pointed out that the gunman emptied the first 33-round magazine and was trying to get a second one into the gun when he dropped it. A woman standing nearby grabbed the second clip and others restrained the gunman.

If the gunman had been firing a 10-round clip, the deadly 13th round would not have found its mark.

The shooter was also one of those who could have been spotted through better background checks, a point that National Rifle Association leaders continue to argue against.

Those arguments are growing thin.

Guns will probably always be a part of American life. The Second Amendment is a strong, highly supported guarantee that many Americans understandably take seriously.

Nevertheless, improved background checks and limiting the size of ammunition magazines for assault rifles and other deadly weapons shouldn’t raise alarms with gun advocates. Everyone of stable mind and appreciates law and order should be willing to support meaningful safeguards against violence. That’s not an indictment against the right to bear arms and responsible gun owners. Based on the condition of society, altering the size of ammunition clips and improving background checks are a part of what should be done to improve safety. The 13th bullet and the fate of a 9-year-old girl in Tucson cannot be ignored.