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Could Arizona Shooter Have Bought His Gun Here?

The alleged shooter in Arizona — Jared Lee Loughner, 22 — used a Glock 19, a nine-millimeter semi-automatic weapon that is capable of firing 30 rounds of ammunition in one clip. He purchased the pistol at a gun shop in Tucson after passing an instant background check.

A semi-automatic Glock 19 pistol (Keith LaFaille/Flickr)

A semi-automatic Glock 19 pistol (Keith LaFaille/Flickr)

In the massacre that followed, six people died. More than a dozen people were injured, including Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Giffords is an avid gun-rights supporter in a state that has some of the most lenient gun laws in the country. And even though Massachusetts has some of the toughest, we wonder — how hard is it, really, to buy a gun in this state?


  • David Hemenway, director, Harvard Injury Control Research Center

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  • Patriot

    Guns Dont kill,the people holding them do.

  • L.J.S.

    In Mass — likely not. A license to carry in Mass requires the licensing authority to decide the applicant is “suitable” (whatever that means). A denied applicant can appeal to the trial courts, who generally will uphold the denial unless the reasons are arbitrary, capricious, etc.

    If the applicant “has been confined to any hospital or institution for mental illness, unless the applicant submits with his application an affidavit of a registered physician attesting that such physician is familiar with the applicant’s mental illness and that in such physician’s opinion the applicant is not disabled by such an illness in a manner that should prevent such applicant from possessing a firearm”, he or she is disqualified by statute from either an LTC (handgun/carry permit) or an FID card (rifles/shotguns).

    Federal law likewise disqualfies certain mentally ill folks from owning firearms. 18 U.S.C. §922 (g) (4) The NICS system, which is used to check folks buying firearms notes that “the NICS Section receives telephone calls from mental health institutions, psychiatrists, police departments, and family members requesting placement of individuals into the NICS Index.”


    So — short answer is probably not in Mass.

  • Caroline Bolar

    Guns allow the attacker protection from the unarmed person being attached, gives instant release of aggression, as no time is wasted trying to find a rock, bow & arrow or other device designed to harm, and dissociates the attacker from the damage of their action.

    Whether allowing the sale of guns or other items that some believe bring harm to society (drugs, porn, gambling, etc.) or not, is a matter of degree. If money is generated for government entities, the temptation to venture further down the (slippery) slope is great.

    People need to consider that what is done to one is done to all. Trying to narrowly place the blame on the shooter, in this case, relieves all of us of our complicity in the result of the action.

    I am a subsistence hunter.

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