Arizona shooting spree casts light on gun violence in U.S.

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Among the many issues raised by the Tucson, Arizona shootings that left Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in critical condition, six people dead and more than a dozen injured on Jan. 8, 2011 are questions about the nature and culture of gun violence in the United States.

Two researchers from HSPH’s Harvard Injury Control Research Center, director David Hemenway and research specialist Mary Vriniotis, were recently interviewed about the tragedy and U.S. gun control laws.

Hemenway was invited onto WBUR’s Radio Boston to discuss whether even in Massachusetts, a state with some of the country’s strictest gun laws, someone like the Arizona shooter could have obtained a weapon. Vriniotis appeared on a special hour-long segment of WGBH’s The Emily Rooney Show about the shootings to comment on gun legislation nationwide. There is no national prohibition, said Vriniotis, on the kind of semiautomatic handgun used by Jared Loughner, the alleged killer. “By making that gun easily accessible, that’s how events like this happen,” she said.