• Editorial

Guns don’t kill crowds, people with semi-automatics do: Why can’t we do a better job of protecting society from this type of attack?

Citation

Kamerow, D. (2011). Guns don’t kill crowds, people with semi-automatics do: Why can’t we do a better job of protecting society from this type of attack? BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 342, d477. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.d477

Abstract

Once again in the United States a seriously mentally ill man is suspected of mowing down a crowd before he can be wrestled to the ground.

This time the victims included a Congresswoman and a federal judge. A wave of shock spread across the country and around the world. Liberals blamed the mood of the country and violent rhetoric from conservative leaders. Conservatives howled with injustice and attacked the liberals for attacking them.

The handgun used for the attack was a Glock 19, a lightweight, compact, semi-automatic pistol that comes with a standard magazine holding 15 bullets of 9 mm calibre. Glock pistols have become the overwhelming choice of police departments around the world because of their light polymer construction and their ease of firing. They are called “semi-automatic” guns because, unlike revolvers that have one bullet per chamber, all the bullets can be fired by simply squeezing and re-squeezing the trigger. Jared Loughner, the alleged gunman, had legally purchased such a weapon in November, along with an extended capacity magazine that allowed him to fire 33 times without stopping to reload.