A clear voice in the gun control debate stands out. California U.S. District Court Judge Larry Alan Burns, who sentenced the shooter in the Tucson rampage to seven life terms in prison, questions the “social utility” of high-capacity magazines that fed his weapon, and also the expiration of the federal assault weapons ban in 2004. Half of the nation’s deadliest shootings occurred after that, including the school massacre in Connecticut.
Judge Burns is a gun owner and a conservative appointed to the bench by a Republican president who supports the Second Amendment right (as interpreted in a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court ruling) to possess guns for self-defense. But as he told the Los Angeles Times, “There is no reason civilians need to own assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Gun enthusiasts can still have their venison, shoot for sport and make a home invader flee for his life without pretending they are part of the SEAL team that took out Osama bin Laden.”
“If we can’t draw a line on guns, we may as well call our experiment in democracy a failure,” the judge concludes.