Herbert Dyer, Jr.

As National Rifle Association head Wayne LaPierre was testifying before a Senate committee Wednesday that background checks and new gun laws were not just unnecessary but counterproductive, at least three people were shot at a business complex in Phoenix.

“We don’t believe it was a random act,” Phoenix police Sgt. Tommy Thompson told KTVK. “There was some type of altercation. We believe that he shot three people, one who was transported in extremely critical condition and the other two with non-life threatening injuries.”

Thompson said police were searching for a single suspect, a white male, and that it is unclear what a motive may have been.

Back in Washington, Mark Kelly, the husband of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, actually referred to this latest shooting in Arizona during his heated testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Kelly testified that there appeared to have been “a shooting with multiple victims with multiple shots fired.”


With each successive shooting, LaPierre’s argument in favor of less not more control of guns descends further and further into the realm of downright willful, purposeful ignorance, even evil.

Indeed, earlier this week, the father of one of the tiny victims of the Sandy Hook massacre, Neil Heslin, was actually heckled by so-called Second Amendment defenders during his testimony before the above-mentioned Senate panel.

Taken together with Giffords’ halting and heartbreaking testimony and that of other families of the Sandy Hook victims, as well as the advent of yet another Arizona shooting (occurring virtually simultaneously with Giffords’ statement), there should be little left to do but pass the new gun laws and send them on to the president for signing and implementation.

Yet the NRA’s hold on Congress is such that it is unlikely that a bill of real consequence will emerge from these hearings. Even as the mood of the country at large is changing toward more gun control, the mood of Congress changes only when enough money (or the threat of less money) forces such a change.

Again, I do not doubt that new gun control legislation will pass. But I have serious doubts that it will be meaningful. Yes, universal background checks are necessary, as is the elimination or curtailment of high-capacity magazines and assault-style weapons.

As a Chicagoan who sometimes feels that I live in the middle of a war zone, the single most important and effective “weapon” against gun violence in this city would be to make it a federal crime to cross state lines for the purpose of using a firearm in a crime.

Chicago, you see, has some of the toughest anti-gun laws in the country. Yet it is awash in guns from Indiana, Missouri, Wisconsin and Michigan. The “collar counties” around Chicago also have lax, even permissive, laws as to the possession and use of all types of firearms.

What I am saying here is that the control of the flow of guns into the big cities would go a long way toward stemming, if not stamping out altogether, this continuing bloodbath on our streets.