The Republic acknowledges Barber’s leadership on the gun issue


by David Safier

I for one am proud of the way Rep. Ron Barber has taken a prominent stand on the issue of common sense gun regulation. I expressed concern that he might become a back bencher with a noncommital position on the issue. I'm happy to be proven wrong.

An article in the Republic, Arizona's D.C. delegates split on gun reform, also acknowledges Barber's prominent role on the gun issue.

Giffords’ freshman Democratic successor, Rep. Ron Barber, a survivor of the mass shooting, has become the delegation’s loudest advocate for gun control. Though Congress changed no laws in the wake of the southern Arizona shooting, Barber said he sees the Dec. 14 massacre in Newtown, Conn., as a turning point for Washington. A gunman killed 20 children and six adults at the elementary school.

“The shock wave that came across all of us when these 20 children were slaughtered has really changed a lot of points of view,” Barber said last week. “The young boy that was buried on Monday was shot 11 times. That’s just so atrocious and so awful, you can hardly imagine it.”

Barber — with the support of Democratic Reps. Raúl Grijalva and Ed Pastor — is calling for a renewed ban on so-called assault weapons and extended magazines as well as the closing of the so-called Brady Law loophole that exempts gun-show sellers from conducting background checks.

In addition, Barber plans to introduce for the second time legislation to improve mental-health funding.

The fight is in the early stages, and political courage will become ever more important as we move toward passing legislation. I hope Barber will continue to see this issue as part of his legacy, as a way to pass common sense legislation that should have become law after all the earlier mass killings, including the January 8 shooting in Tucson.