Will Tucson Rampage Usher In Public Policy Changes?

By Mary Collins
By Scott Sarvay
By Jeff Neumeyer

February 3, 2011 Updated Nov 25, 2013 at 9:59 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) - Was the Tucson shooting rampage a wake-up call for America?

Shortly after the bullets stopped flying, gun control advocates started shouting for public policy changes.

Former Fort Wayne Mayor Paul Helmke is in town doing some shouting too.

IPFW is sponsoring a lecture series on "The Promise and Problems of Democracy" and Helmke, the head of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, will voice the opinion that we need to do more to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people.

The topic for his speech is, "The Tragedy in Tucson- The Impact on Gun Legislation and the Accessibility of Elected Officials".

As you recall, Jared Loughner opened fire on a crowd in Arizona last month, killing six people and injuring 13 others, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Loughner passed a background check before purchasing the Glock 19 he used in the shooting rampage.

Helmke is especially alarmed that when Loughner loaded the gun with more than 30 bullets, he was not breaking the law.

Paul Helmke/Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence: " Between 1994 and 2004, you could only have a magazine that contained 10 bullets or less, now you can get an unlimited number, 30 bullets, 60 bullets, 100 bullets. The Tucson shooter was stopped when he went to re-load. If he'd had to re-load after firing 10 bullets instead of 30, a lot less people would have been injured."

Helmke and other gun control advocates, however, have a tough sell.

The country just elected a more conservative Congress, many of them closely aligned with the powerful gun lobby.

Helmke says conservatives should be very open to changes that protect police officers and public servants from gun violence.

But since passage of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act in 1993 and assault weapons ban in 1994, the country has gone down a path towards more open gun access.

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