Shooting should lead to stricter gun laws

If gun laws are not strengthened, the alternative seems to be a de facto acceptance of these extremely tragic situations.

One significant aspect of the shooting of three police officers in Pittsburg is that the tragedy could have been prevented. Richard Poplawski, the shooter, apparently obtained his guns legally âÄî including the AK-47 used in the shootout. Stricter gun laws could have deterred his access to such firearms. In light of the recent string of shootings, including the incident in Binghamton involving a gunman who killed 13 people, now is the opportune time to strengthen gun control policies. Poplawski feared governmental regulation of citizensâÄô personal right to bear arms. His violent outburst was partially because of his extreme paranoia that the law would strip him of his guns. Ironically, his actions provide an impetus for more gun control legislation. Poplawski purchased a Magnum revolver, a .22 caliber rifle, an AK-47 assault rifle and two handguns within the boundaries of the law. He allegedly bought the AK-47 online and picked it up from a Wilkinsburg gun shop âÄî by law, online dealers must ship guns to federally licensed stores before customers can obtain them. Despite a discharge from the Marine Corps and a protection-from-abuse order obtained by his girlfriend, he passed numerous background checks, including more rigorous checks required for a concealed weapon permit. If gun laws are not strengthened, the alternative seems to be a de facto acceptance of these extremely tragic situations; yet, a 2008 Gallup survey of Americans showed no majority opinion on the subject of gun laws. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 49 percent of those surveyed supported stricter laws for gun sales, whereas 41 percent felt the laws should remain unchanged. Congress took 10 years to pass the Brady Bill , which provided for background checks and waiting periods on handguns. Clearly, we cannot afford another such slow process. This editorial, accessed via UWire, was originally published in The Pitt News at the University of Pittsburgh. Please send comments to [email protected]