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Arizona Has Turned into a Gun Lover's Paradise -- and That's Why It Ranks Among the Highest in Gun Deaths

Arizona is a mecca for gun-lovers, but having lots of heavily armed citizens running around has made it a more dangerous place to live.

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Nonetheless, sales of Glock handguns – the weapon Jared Lee Loughner used when he shot Rep. Giffords and 19 others -- have skyrocketed in Arizona in the wake of the shootings. And the state's legislature is considering two bills that would further expand Arizonans' “right” to carry concealed weapons wherever they please.

In a sane society, we would be imposing reasonable restrictions on firearms. According to news reports, the carnage at Giffords' event only ended when the shooter stopped to reload. But because he was using an extended capacity magazine, that only occurred after he had gotten off over 30 rounds. There had been a halt in the manufacture and sales of high capacity magazines under the Clinton-era Assault Weapons Ban. But, as Media Matters' Ari Rabin-Havt noted, “The NRA put its muscle behind making sure the assault weapons ban expired, even though its renewal was supported by President Bush.”

While the assault weapons ban restricted the capacity of magazines to 10 rounds, Loughner was able to fire 31 rounds from his Glock 19, killing six people and injuring 13 others. The NRA owns nine bullets that struck innocent people (and 21 bullets altogether) that would have been outlawed if the ban was still in place.

The Second Amendment does not guarantee the right to keep and bear semi-automatic weapons with high capacity magazines, and in a sane country, they'd be banned. But gun control in the U.S. today is a non-starter, due in part to the outsized influence of the gun lobby, and in part because public opinion has shifted against the gun control agenda. According to OpenSecrets, gun control advocates spent less than $200,000 lobbying Congress during the first nine months of 2010, a figure that was dwarfed by the $4 million spent by their ideological opponents.

So we can expect some heated debate following the horrific events in Tucson, just as we do after every nightmarish gun incident, and then we will return to our uniquely dangerous status quo.

Note: a correction was made after publication.

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