Ensign: Tougher gun laws won’t prevent another Tucson

Tougher gun control will not prevent another Tucson-style mass shooting, Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., argues in a Washington Post opinion piece today.

"Gun laws were not the reason that a socially isolated individual, an anarchist, chose to open fire on an elected official, her constituents and a federal judge," Ensign said as one of seven officials and pundits invited by the newspaper to weigh in on the matter, a week after a gunman killed six and wounded 14 in Tucson, Ariz., including local Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Residents of Washington recognize Ensign’s connection to anti-gun control. He engineered a key Senate vote in February 2009 that would bar the city council in the District of Columbia from regulating guns. The controversial Ensign amendment made the underlying bill, which would grant the district a voting representative in Congress, too hot to handle and effectively killed it.

Ensign argued the city’s firearms controls were depriving residents of their Second Amendment rights to bear arms. Besides challenging Ensign’s reasoning, critics also blasted the Nevadan for imposing himself on the local government.

In his comments published today, Ensign repeated his argument that tough guns laws don’t necessarily make people safer.

"The District of Columbia is home to the nation’s most restrictive gun control measures," Ensign said. "Logic would suggest that this city must be the safest place in the country. But the facts do not support this conclusion. Gun violence in the District was consistently among the highest in the nation throughout the 30 years that the city banned handguns.

"A criminal or a madman such as the Tucson shooter will use other means to purchase handguns; in Washington, criminals used illegal guns purchased on the black market," Ensign said. "Regarding the D.C. law, the Fraternal Order of Police stated that the handgun ban was a ‘miserable failure by any estimation.’ I certainly hope that Congress will not feel motivated to create more miserable failures across the country with tougher gun laws."

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