Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 27, 2009

PUTTING THEIR SAFETY WHERE THEIR MOUTH IS.... If you've ever visited Capitol Hill in Washington, especially in the post-9/11 era, you know there's quite a bit of security. Visitors, staffers, reporters, and guests have to go through metal detectors, not only to get into the Capitol itself, but also to enter any of the congressional office buildings.

E.J. Dionne Jr. argued today that conservative lawmakers, loyal to the NRA, should at least try to do something about these security measures -- by fighting for their removal.

Isn't it time to dismantle the metal detectors, send the guards at the doors away and allow Americans to exercise their Second Amendment rights by being free to carry their firearms into the nation's Capitol?

I've been studying the deep thoughts of senators who regularly express their undying loyalty to the National Rifle Association, and I have decided that they should practice what they preach. They tell us that the best defense against crime is an armed citizenry and that laws restricting guns do nothing to stop violence.

If they believe that, why don't they live by it?

Why would freedom-loving lawmakers want to hide behind guards and metal detectors? Shouldn't NRA members be outraged that Second Amendment rights mean nothing in the very seat of our democracy?

There's a tongue-in-cheek quality to Dionne's piece, but his argument is very compelling. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) insisted last week that Americans must "have the right to self-defense," and the more Americans are allowed to carry concealed firearms, the safer the public becomes. By that reasoning, Dionne explains, "keeping guns out of the Capitol makes all our elected officials far less safe. If just a few senators had weapons, the criminals wouldn't know which ones were armed, and all senators would be safer, right? Isn't that better than highly intrusive gun control -- i.e., keeping people with guns out of the Capitol in the first place?"

Dionne didn't mention it, but there is a history of gun violence in the Capitol -- incidents, I should add, that happened before metal detectors were installed -- but I suppose that reinforces Dionne's thesis. If conservatives believe American families are safer if more people are carrying concealed firearms, and there have been shootings on the Hill before, it stands to reason the right would demand that more people be armed in Congress. It's necessary for "safety."

Over to you, NRA.

Steve Benen 9:20 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (60)

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Comments

How about that gleaming NRA headquarters off I-66 in Fairfax County? Are you allowed to pack heat in there? Anybody know?

Posted by: Virginia on July 27, 2009 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

palin's not doing anything right now, why don't we put her head of capitol security -- git david broder to write a nice column advocating her for the position.

she can work her way up from providing security for the nation's 'statesmen' (ho ho ho) to providing a secure nation for us all in 2012 -- hohohohohohohohohohohohohohohohohohohoho

Posted by: neill on July 27, 2009 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

I love it. Let the congressmen arm themselves to the teeth. We'll see how many "lives are saved" when a nutjob comes tearing into the Capital Building. The only problem is, if recent events are any indication, the nutjobs are going to come after the Liberals [the ones without guns] and the Conservatives won't do anything to stop them.

I can hear them now. "Well, Ida keeled that punk if'n my Winchester hadn't jammed on me. Damn shame, too."

Posted by: chrenson on July 27, 2009 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

No thanks. The nuts who are most likely to carry weapons into the capital and kill a senator wouldn't be aiming for McConnell or Inhofe, they would go after Russ Feingold or Barbara Boxer or some other fascist liberal enemy of the great god Rush. It isn't worth risking lives to make a political point.

Posted by: Shalimar on July 27, 2009 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

Why not one step further?

REQUIRE the men and women of the Congress to carry firearms.

I mean, who knows if you have to blast a bad guy in the middle of your speech?

Now, that would be a point of order!

Posted by: r_m on July 27, 2009 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

After thinking about my last post, I suddenly had a pretty serious thought. Whether it's intended or not, is it at all possible that the Big Gundown that militia nutjobs keep talking about, stands a fair chance of actually happening one day? And that the revolution will be armed conservatives against unarmed liberals, basically.

I mean, you've got basically one enormous and certifiably insane group — the Republicans — basically insisting that all its members "bear arms." And you've got another enormous and certifiably naive group — the Democrats — who think the first group can be reasoned with.

The first thing a rogue militia would do is storm the Capitol Building and kill all the Democrats.

How far-fetched is that really?

Posted by: chrenson on July 27, 2009 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

Arm every citizen. But before we do, I want to but some stock in hospitals. Let the carnage begin. Maybe it can start at an open gun show in Ohio or in Lubbock,Texas.

Let's bring back duels (with just cause of course), and possees. Ah, all of the wonderment of John Wayne movies but with real bullets. I also disagree with the poster who thinks only liberals will be shot in the capitol. There are plenty of far left wingnuts who would go hunting too. Besides, unless these gun totters are crack shots, they'll pick-off a few stray GOPers in the firefight. What fun...

Posted by: stevio on July 27, 2009 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

Stevio,

I'll buy stock in an arm band manufacturer. They're gonna need some easy way to identify the liberals. Probably something pink with a tree on it. Or a series of red and white concentric circles.

Posted by: chrenson on July 27, 2009 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

Why do they insist that their guns be concealed? As Dr. Strangelove said, "A doomsday machine is useless if it's kept secret!"

For gun advocates, it should make sense that higher visibility for guns will make them more familiar, and so will reduce the anxiety that unarmed people have for them, making it easier to remove restrictions on them.

If people must carry their guns, let them do so in the open. Are they ashamed or something?

Posted by: Daniel Kim on July 27, 2009 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

This is a silly piece of grandstanding and is beneath you.

The logic behind concealed carry is that in most circumstances, nobody has a reason to attack another person that is so strong they're willing to die in the process. If you're robbing a shopkeeper, there's not a lot of point if there's a good chance you'll end up dead instead of having the money. If you're mugging someone, there's not a lot of point if there's a good chance you'll end up dead rather than having the money. If you're breaking into a house, there's not a lot of point if the owners may shoot you dead in the process.

That reasoning works under most circumstances, but it doesn't work with certain potential targets. For example, a victim (direct or indirect) of a terrible crime may well see it as worth dying to see the person "who did it" die too. Which is why guns are banned from courthouses. You don't want the family of a murder victim killing the alleged murderer before they get a fair trial. It's also why guns are banned from most political gathering places.

There are extremists out there who genuinely do want to see politicians dead so badly they're willing to risk their own lives in the process. I think most of them watch Fox News, but that's another issue...

The argument those promoting concealed gun carry laws use simply does not apply to certain situations, and that's why there's no serious movement to allow the carrying of concealed weapons into government buildings, or to force private property owners to allow visitors to carry weapons.

Please don't use this argument. First it perpetuates the stereotype of the unreasonable gun-grabbing liberal. And second, it's just plain stupid.

Posted by: squiggleslash on July 27, 2009 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

As a left-leaning hunter/target shooter, I've always had mixed feelings about the heat (you should pardon the expression) raised over restrictive local-option firearms restrictions: don't like 'em, think they're constitutionally iffy,but understand why they have been put in place, particularly in my old home town (DC). The problem is that no-one has come up with a viable alternative to restrictive laws; encouraging grown-up, responsible arms-bearing doesn't work, as shown by Dick Cheney. Arm every member of Congress, then lock 'em in, and we might--just possibly--produce some sensible conversations, but I fear that the main result would be a couple of plugged Reps.

Posted by: docdave on July 27, 2009 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

As a college professor in the Southeast, I remember the Virginia Tech shootings well. And I also remember the agitation afterwards, some coming from legislators who should know better, for allowing people to carry firearms on campuses and into classrooms like mine. So, about Dionne's idea? I like it--it says, "You first."

Posted by: RSA on July 27, 2009 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

Daniel Kim - the logic is that gun ownership is only a deterrent to criminals if either (a) everyone has a gun - which is never going to happen or (b) criminals believe there's a serious possibility that J. Random Potential Victim is armed.

If only some people have and carry guns, and it's easy to identify who, then an attacker can simply pick off the unarmed people.

It's certainly not about shame. The majority of gun owners I know are very proud of the fact, and have a tendency to undermine the concealed-carry logic by promoting the fact they own them with everything from bumperstickers to T-shirts.

Posted by: squiggleslash on July 27, 2009 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

I would like to see guns allowed at Ted Nugent and Kid Rock concerts. That would have some potential. Maybe have them on a double bill. Add a nice thuggish rapper and open the gates!

Posted by: gttim on July 27, 2009 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

Chrenson: armed militias haven't been storming any other state houses killing Dems anywhere else CCW rights are allowed...not sure why DC would be different. (Hint: most of the hyperbole that inevitably comes forth re: carnage wrought by CCW permit holders is the same...and has the same automatic debunking--CCW rights haven't resulted in mass shootouts and blood in the streets everywhere else in the US, no reason to think the Capitol would be any different).

I know Dionne's trying to be tongue in cheek, but what he's missing is that the Capitol is a secured building with its own police force. What the CCW reciprocity bill was about was the other 99.99999% of the US, where you don't have a taxpayer supplied police force at every corner providing security.

The irony is that if you were to put it to the test...I rather doubt it would be Thune et al doing the screeching and yelling about it--it'd be Schumer (the hypocrite who used his connections and influence to get a rare NYC "celebrity only" carry permit himself...ok for him, not ok for you!), Feinstein, and Ted K. bitching.

Dionne and Steve should be careful what you ask for--we NRA friendly types would gladly call your bluff here.

Posted by: Sebastian-PGP on July 27, 2009 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry, Squilleleash, but your reasoning for "concealed carry" is fatlly flawed. Usually, when someone is mugged at gunpoint (as my wife was a few years ago -- right outside our apartment, in a "nice" area), the element of surprise takes away any chance of getting the gun out to use. In her case, the mugger took her purse and checked to make sure she didn't have a gun before he made his getaway. If she had carried a gun, there'd just be another gun in the hands of a criminal.

The only way she wouldn't have lost it is if she had been walking around with the gun in her hand, ready to fire, right outside our house. Not a great way to live your life ...

Posted by: RJ -- Texas on July 27, 2009 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

Daniel Kim - the logic is that gun ownership is only a deterrent to criminals if either (a) everyone has a gun - which is never going to happen or (b) criminals believe there's a serious possibility that J. Random Potential Victim is armed.

The problem with that logic is that the defender is almost always going to be caught by surprise. The mugger is not going to stand in front of the victim and give them thirty seconds to get over their shock and rummage in their purse or fiddle with their holster to get the weapon out and the safety off. I don't know how much of a deterrent a gun is going to be if the attacker can reliably get the drop on the victim.

This isn't the case with breakins unless it's a home invasion, but from interviews with burglars they're just as worried about unarmed occupants since they can, you know, call the cops.

Posted by: ericblair on July 27, 2009 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

Re: Sebastian: You, as most gun-lovers seem to do, completely miss the point. Dionne is arguing that you take away the taxpayer-supplied police force and just let them fend for themselves. Thune, Inhofe and the like are too cowardly to follow the prescriptions thay want the rest of us to follow. I would be too, but I don't argue that the rest of the world should follow a different set of rules.

I've lived in Texas all my fifty years -- the folks who feel that they must carry their guns with them everywhere are the folks who are the scaredest of everything in life. I pity them.

Posted by: RJ -- Texas on July 27, 2009 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

This continues the fact that the GOP lawmakers/hypocrites decry the very things that help keep them alive, government run healthcare and gun control.

Posted by: Former Dan on July 27, 2009 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

"How about that gleaming NRA headquarters off I-66 in Fairfax County? Are you allowed to pack heat in there?"

Not a chance. Vistors have to go through security before entering, and any weapon on your person is secured until you leave. NRA leadership might be crazy, but they're not stupid.

Posted by: Killdozer on July 27, 2009 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

Hear hear! Let Congress have a "Bring Your Guns to Work" day.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on July 27, 2009 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

RJ--you dolt, I do get it, hence the larger point I was making. It wouldn't be Thune et al bitching if CCW was allowed and the metal detectors removed.

RE: NRA hq--no different than the Capitol, it's a secured area because it's a likely target.

If Thune et al called Dionne's bluff, and I hope they do, it would be Schumer, Feinstein all doing the loudest bitching...so the entire argument Dionne's making, while certainly tongue in cheek, fails even a perfunctory sniff test.

Re: being afraid...bullshit. They're prepared. Are you afraid because you have a fire extinguisher? A seat belt in your car?

ericblair--armed citizens defend themselves successfully 100s of 1000s of times per year in this country. I know, I've done it myself. The reason it works despite the attacker having the "drop" on the intended victim is the bad guy isn't typically expecting you to resist.

We just had a case of three armed muggers getting shot by a person defending himself last week here; the reason it works is the bad guys expect you to just lay down and die because they have a gun. Imagine their surprise when the tables are turned...

Posted by: Sebastian-PGP on July 27, 2009 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

One more good thing about Thune calling Dionne's bluff--DC's anticarry law would have to be overturned by Congressional fiat.

Again...the point you're trying to make here (ahem RJ), that the RKBA folks are hypocrites, simply doesn't hold water. The people doing the bitching about that wouldn't be us freedom lovers...it'd be the antigunners.

Posted by: Sebastian-PGP on July 27, 2009 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

My problem isn't when I'm running around packing a heater for my own self-defense.

My problem is everyone else doing the same. Do we really want an environment where literally everyone in a room -- say, a school room or movie theater -- decides on their own what constitutes a 'life or death' situation and is armed appropriately?

Who in their right mind would want to hang out for even a minute in the same room with these armed dudes?

Posted by: leo on July 27, 2009 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

Leo--there are armed people around you all the time, you just don't realize it.

The reality is the 'scary situation' you posit simply hasn't ever shown itself to be a problem, anywhere at any time.

If CCW rights meant showdowns and shootouts in theatres and schools...it'd have happened already. The reality is the only time guns are a problem in those situations is when the bad guys are armed and everyone else is obeying the law or the rules and is helpless.

Posted by: Sebastian-PGP on July 27, 2009 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, Freedom at long last - Free Fire Zones and Body Counts in the well. The RepuGs can set up their MG .42s and carry their Schmiessers. Will Lugar carry his Luger? Saxby will still say that his "football knee" precludes his packing. Lots of Walther P-38s for "points of order", eh?

Posted by: berttheclock on July 27, 2009 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

Sebastian -- I was going to stay away from the name-calling, but since you started it -- you're a fearful little boy. You have to carry your penile-replacement tool with you at all times.

I pity most of you folks -- you're just an adolescent idiot.

Posted by: RJ -- Texas on July 27, 2009 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

Guns in the Capitol building? Let’s see, we could call the movie “Gunfight in the OK Capitol.”

And why not guns in the White House. We could call that movie “The Wild Wild West Wing.”

Posted by: sheridan on July 27, 2009 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

And don't worry -- you don't have to reply. I hear enough whiners around here (I live in Texas).

Also -- I have a job -- I should get to it.

Posted by: RJ -- Texas on July 27, 2009 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

Sebastian,
You are right that concealed carry laws don't necessarily mean "showdowns and shoutouts in theatres ands chools"--those things happen anyway because our lax gun laws, thanks to second amendment gun nuts, permit any loser with a grudge to gun down his girlfriend, her kids, his schoolmates. The argument for concealed carry is that it would *prevent* that from happening. But since plenty of gun violence happens in homes that--ta da--have guns already I fail to see how permitting people to concealed carry will substantially change the balance of power. Try to admit that most gun damage is done by angry white male losers and you will see that unless you propose arming primarily non whites and married or divorced women, concealed carry will not protect us.

aimai

Posted by: aimai on July 27, 2009 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, the crown jewel of antigunner bullshit rears it's head...that didn't take long!

I wonder if all those women who carry are replacing their penises as well. Durrr...

If you're so not fearful, you probably shouldn't worry about who carries a gun.

If by "adolescent idiot" you mean "someone who objects to people like you passing judgment on me for exercising personal liberty and respecting the freedoms our founding fathers outlined"...then guilty as charged.

The sad thing is by living in TX you enjoy the protection provided by the armed citizenry you denigrate. Hypocrite. Why don't you try living in the 'hood in DC or Baltimore, where all that gun control is making things so safe. Ha!

Talk about putting your money where your mouth is. You don't see Sarah Brady or the RJ's of the world living in the "safe" havens the policies they support have created. They're the real hypocrites.

Posted by: Sebastian-PGP on July 27, 2009 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

Sebastian-PGP: "Leo--there are armed people around you all the time, you just don't realize it."

Well, actually that isn't true. You can't carry a concealed weapon in the city of Chicago thank god unless you've got something to do with security. So if anyone's packing a heater around here, they'd be breaking the law.

I feel a lot safer.

Sebastian-PGP: "If CCW rights meant showdowns and shootouts in theatres and schools...it'd have happened already."

It has already happened. Have you seen the level of gun-injuries and fatalities in this country compared to places where guns are not so readily available?

This is a no-brainer. The more guns you introduce in a crowded area, the more fatalities you have as a society. The stats bare this out. it's what you'd expect.

So while I think the average gun-toting NRA'er is probably a nice person, if they come around me, I'd advise them to leave the heater at home. I don't need them deciding for me what a 'life or death' situation is.

Posted by: leo on July 27, 2009 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

squiggleslash@956am
So "the right of the people to keep and bear arms
shall not be infringed." ...except when it does
not apply to certain situations. Now it is all
clear (as mud).

you stated:
"The argument those promoting concealed gun carry laws use simply does not apply to certain situations, and that's why there's no serious movement to allow the carrying of concealed weapons into government buildings, or to force private property owners to allow visitors to carry weapons."

Oh, you think I left out some crucial initial
clause of the second amendment? That says something about well-regulated? Nah, that is completely discarded in civilized NRA discourse.

Posted by: catclub on July 27, 2009 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

Sebastian, do you have some special attachment alert to any thread here which even, remotely, mentions the NRA and weapons? Funny, how you never seem to post on anyother thread, but, swoop whenever guns are mentioned.

Does the NRA pay you to be ever on alert? Or does your funding come straight from Schaife?

Posted by: berttheclock on July 27, 2009 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

"The argument for concealed carry is that it would *prevent* that from happening."

No, the argument is that policemen are too heavy to carry around with me, and I can't throw a rock at 1100fps.

As for your bigoted angry white losers comment...I usually ignore that sort of thing, but I wonder what you think about our fair city of Baltimore, where 80% of homicides are committed by young black men against other young black men.

I reallllly don't think that's a route you want to travel.

Posted by: Sebastian-PGP on July 27, 2009 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

Yawn...Bert, it's the issue nearest and dearest to my heart. Get over it. Having been on the wrong side of a criminal's gun while my gun was locked up in my room, I resolved to make sure that I wouldn't ever be helpless like that again, and hence my advocacy. Nothing to apologize for there.

I wish I could get paid for this...easy money.

Posted by: Sebastian-PGP on July 27, 2009 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

" And you've got another enormous and certifiably naive group — the Democrats — who think the first group can be reasoned with.**********************


Actually, I think we know that most of them can't be reasoned with. The fact that our elected reps keep trying to do so, with a group that has been soundly rejected in the last two elections, only proves that the Dem leadership is either ignorant, stupid, or willfully playing into their hands while expressing outrage that they are getting used. So which group is actually the loones? It's as if the Dems are getting screwed, they know it and they are giving willing acquiescence, but all the while yelling 'stop, no, stop". There are a few reasonable Reps, deal with them and send the rest packing. Their group was booted out of power for a reason. And Dem leadership, grow a pair or get out of the way.

Posted by: In what respect, Charlie? on July 27, 2009 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

Kennesaw, Georgia, one of the burgs in Newt Gingrich's old congressional district, passed a law in the 1980's making gun ownership mandatory, although I don't believe anyone was ever busted for being gunless. The party line was that crime rates fell dramatically afterwards. (No statistics were published that I could find about dramatic increases in the number of seven year old children killing each other after they found Daddy's gun in a nightstand.)

I have to admit that my own feelings about gun ownership have changed over the past eight years. If another Dick Cheney comes along and this time succeeds in using the U.S. Army to invade America, I could at least go down fighting.

Posted by: Mandy Cat on July 27, 2009 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

Sebastian, it's idiots like you that want to set the US back 200 years. This is not the wild west, and thank God for it. Evolve you knuckle dragging troglodyte. Violence gets violence. Guns don't kill people; violent, angry, cement-heads with an ax to grind (like you, if you're paying attention) kill people with their guns. You ever noticed that we have a massive alcohol problem in this country? Great move, Sebastard, throw a whole mess o' more guns into the mix. That'll help. That'll show them woosy liberals that people can kill others whenever they damn well please. Also, great for the gun manufacturers and our ever-growing prison-industrial complex, not to mention the undertakers and the trauma/crisis emergency medical treatment centers. How much stock do in you own in companies that profit from violence and misery and death? Just ask'in. Wait, wait, I know. Why dont' we give every country, No every PERSON, an atomic bomb? Because after all, Thebastard, as you NRA types like to say, "Weapons don't kill people, people kill people". Just think how safe and secure we'd all feel with all those "new-cue-lar" weapons out their to protect us from the gangs in Baltimore. You, are a total moron. Now go clean your guns, carefully mind you, and don't shoot anyone in the face, (by accident of course).

Posted by: In what respect, Charlie? on July 27, 2009 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

"In an opinion piece in the New York Times Glenn Reynolds claims:

Last month, Greenleaf, Idaho, adopted Ordinance 208, calling for its citizens to own guns and keep them ready in their homes in case of emergency. ...

And it may not be a bad idea. While pro-gun laws like the one in Greenleaf are mostly symbolic, to the extent that they actually make a difference, it is likely to be a positive one.

Greenleaf is following in the footsteps of Kennesaw, Ga., which in 1982 passed a mandatory gun ownership law in response to a handgun ban passed in Morton Grove, Ill. Kennesaw's crime dropped sharply, while Morton Grove's did not.

This is precisely backwards. Burglaries in Kennesaw did not change significantly, while Morton Grove's burglary rate fell by 4.5 burglaries per month."

http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2007/01/kennesaw_gun_ordinance_yet_aga.php

Posted by: Chris on July 27, 2009 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

I have no problem with concealed carry, as long as the person who wished to do so demonstrates that they have the competence to carry a firearm and know how and when to use it.

A concealed carry law should require a potential candidate to show proficency in the use of a firearm (especially when it comes to knowing how to aim), knowledge of state and federal laws concerning when and where to carry firearms, and show the ability to know when to use a firearm (getting robbed: yes; fight at the bar: no).

"The RepuGs can set up their MG .42s and carry their Schmiessers."
-Posted by: berttheclock

I'd love to see one of those doughy-pant chickenhawks try to lug a -42 up the Capital steps. I used to carry an M-60 in the Army, and those things aren't light.

Now an MP-40 Schmiesser is a lot lighter, but from my experience firing one during a training exercise, you have to use short bursts because the recoil throws the barrel all over the place.

Come to think of it, maybe GOPers should just use Nerf guns. A lot safer for the public.

Posted by: 2Manchu on July 27, 2009 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

I personally oppose conceal and carry laws and favor all sorts of fascistic gun control , but this argument is very far from compelling--as it stands it's transparently fallacious on two key grounds--(1) it attacks the person (not the argument, when the argument is what is in question); (2) it attempts to apply a general rule to an obvious exception. I think Steve can do much better than this.

Posted by: John Casey on July 27, 2009 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

(2) it attempts to apply a general rule to an obvious exception. I think Steve can do much better than this.
Posted by: John Casey on July 27, 2009 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK******************************

Ah yes, an obvious exception, 'obvious' to whom? You? Yes, it is a bit tongue-in-cheek, so don't attempt to take it so literally. But more importantly, 'obvious' exceptions exist all over the place, depending on who is doing the evaluating. If you start making 'obvious exceptions', then you open a can of worms that winds up pretty much where we are today in this country. Where are guns appropriate, and where are they not? Who's asking? Who's answering? Another "obvious" exception is airports, right? How about trains and train stations, bus terminals, grade schools, the CDC, nuclear facilities...etc., etc, C'mon John, think this through. I think YOU can do much better than this. Steve, keep providing examples that put the lie that the fallacious rules and justifications being thrown around as facts.

Posted by: In what respect, Charlie? on July 27, 2009 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

Those are also good examples of exceptions to such laws, InwhatrespectCharlie?. Now just because there are obvious exceptions does not entail that exceptions to such exceptions are meaningless. One can't shout "fire" in a crowded theater, for instance--but hey, we still have freedom of speech. Now Dionne and Steve might have a point about the Senators if they did not allow anyone in their home state in places they're likely to go to have firearms. But they don't maintain that.

Posted by: John Casey on July 27, 2009 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

Mandycat - good grief, how I hate that my birthplace (Kennesaw, GA) is known around the country, and possibly the world, as the town that mandated firearms ownership. I still live in the area, and as far as I know the gun law had no impact positively or negatively. It was just a bunch of grandstanding b.s., of course. IIRC, there were several other towns across the country that adopted "copycat" laws soon after Kennesaw passed its law. What an embarrassment.

Posted by: carolatl on July 27, 2009 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

"RE: NRA hq--no different than the Capitol, it's a secured area because it's a likely target."

Sebastian if I had to select the most likely target for people actually pulling out guns and popping away it would be precisely a college town bar at closing time on Saturday night. The combination of binge drinking and testosterone is already a problem, throw in a bunch of drunk guys carrying concealed and every botched pickup move becomes a possibility for deadly violence.

Read the papers for God's sake. Where is the mostly likely venue for white biker types or for black gang bangers to engage in gunplay? If you say 'tavern parking lot' or 'sidewalk outside the dance club' you have a winner. If the NRA has its way the most dangerous place in American would be any major college town in the hours after winning a national championship, with second place being the campus of the loser. "Connecticut beats Duke on a buzzer-beater to snatch the NCAA championship!" "Duck and Cover!!!!"

2nd amendment absolutists like to claim that "an armed society is a polite society". All I know is that they must have much more sedate bars and taverns in NRA country than we do around here. Not to mention less morose losers drinking their troubles away in the corner. Lets not make Last Call the really, really Last Call.

Posted by: Bruce Webb on July 27, 2009 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

. One can't shout "fire" in a crowded theater, for instance--but hey, we still have freedom of speech.***********

"there ought to be limits to freedom"--a line uttered by GW Bush. Let the world never forget.

WHO makes the exceptions, and the exceptions to the exceptions is the issue here John. Who sets the 'limits'? The NRA wants guns practically everywhere, to make us 'safer'. They want to decide on the limits. NO thanks! As noted above, it is the exceptions to gun-tote'in that are practically everywhere, and the plethora of exceptions invalidates their backward logic that More gun = More safety. Even GWB knows their ought to be limits! Lethal weapons can be fine in the hands of trained, skilled, and highly responsible, ethical, even-tempered, non-neurotic and non-alcohol/drug impaired individuals. Unfortunately, it is highly unlikely that this description of individuals fits the majority of those owning weapons. And even if it did, it takes only one out-of-control person with an AK47 to get pissed off in a McDonalds, or a crowded picnic ground, or a post office....and its too late. By the time you pull YOUR weapon to try and kill him, dozens are dead...There is also some research that shows that those intent on violence will react MORE quickly and violently if they know that others have weapons too and that they are attempting to kill them! Common sense, right? Is this the kind of society we want?

Posted by: In what respect, Charlie? on July 27, 2009 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, a lot of idiots here. As a total left gun owner, Sebastion is right on. Funny how you cannot argue the issue without resorting to name calling. Logic was never on the side of gun banners.

Posted by: dcdc on July 27, 2009 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

Reminds me of Sen. Rod Grams (R-Minn.) and his memorable "Alcatraz on the Potomac" speech, in which he complained about the unreasonably high level of security at the US Capitol, comparing it to that at the SuperMax prison in Colorado.

Link to the speech: http://tinyurl.com/nc3zol

Posted by: John on July 27, 2009 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

RJ -- Texas,

Bingo. I've never met a handgun owner who didn't have a hero fantasy, but in reality, when confronted with a situation like you described, they're far more likely to have their gun stolen.

The argument that armed robbers will avoid guns is preposterous. The point of robbery is to make money, and handguns are one of the few items that increase in value on the black market. After cash, handguns are the primary target for muggers and thieves.

The sad thing is by living in TX you enjoy the protection provided by the armed citizenry you denigrate. -Sebastian-PGP

There's no state level data suggesting that high levels of gun ownership correlate to reduced crime rates. Lousiana's gun ownership percentage surpasses Texas, but has the highest homicide by gun rate in the United States for several years running.

It would be disingenuous to argue that private armed citizens never prevent crime, but it's absurd to argue that higher levels of gun ownership make for a safer society in general.

Funny how you cannot argue the issue without resorting to name calling. -dcdc

RJ--you dolt... -Sebastian-PGP

Yeah, funny that, given how the fellow you consider "right-on" was the first to lob a personal insult.

Posted by: doubtful on July 27, 2009 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

Most of the arguments that I hear gun advocates advance are "what ifs". I prefer to deal with actual experience.

My father has been a member of the NRA for many years. He is essentially an ambulatory arsenal. He has a permit to carry concealed and he does so anytime that he is outside his home. And when home, he keeps the gun by his chair or bed.

I'm 63. In all my life I've NEVER had a situation where owning a gun would have done me any good. Sure, it can happen, but what are the chances? My father is almost 87. Like me, in all his life, he has NEVER, repeat, NEVER faced a situation where he actually needed to use his weapon for self-defense or defense of another. Well, except for the time he was on a hunting party and shot a rattler rearing to strike under a fellow hunter's butt.

I was visiting him a couple of weeks ago. He asked me if I was afraid in my own home. I answered no. He said that I needed to keep my door locked at all times when I am home in case someone tries to break in to steal my stuff. He always keeps his doors locked and gets mad at my siblings who when visiting aren't as careful about that as he would like. This comment came just after he had stated that he had lived in his home for 14 years and that NEVER had anyone been broken into for any reason whatsoever, robbery, rape, you name it. But he's going to keep his doors locked, just in case...

Well, I live in Tucson, a high property-crime city due to drug-running back and forth from Mexico. I have been the victim of breakins, or attempted, 6 times. In one case they broke in while my ex and I were at dinner, and when we got home they headed out the back door as fast as they could without getting all the possible loot. People who break in to steal don't want to tangle with the owners. I don't have exact statistics but my understanding is that the vast majority of breakins for stealing are done when the homeowners or renters aren't there.

Incidentally, after we installed deadbolts and screwed our windows shut, the breakins stopped.

If people want to own guns, fine, although I would really love to see a registration and licensing requirement, with the person applying to carry a gun undergoing a background check and having to show proof of having attended a firearm safety course from a reputable organization. Oh, and PLEASE don't bring up the hoary old Nazis confiscating the guns in Norway or wherever it was. I trust that you who belong to the NRA realize that if another country invaded us and were intent on confiscating guns, the first thing they'd do is use the NRA membership database to find the people most likely to own significant heat. You are already, in effect, a REGISTERED gun owner.

Posted by: Wolfdaughter on July 27, 2009 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

Sebastian: I'd be very interested in where you get the "100s of 1000s" of instances each year where a person with a legal concealed weapon foils an armed criminal. Also, I'd love to hear your story of gun-toting heroism. If possible, include a link to the news story about it.

Posted by: chrenson on July 27, 2009 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

Revisiting my, admittedly frivolous, proposal that all firearms should be carried openly:

It looks like concealed-carry is a kind of public service: introducing uncertainty about which potential victim has a gun would deter criminals from attacking anyone, while open-carry would target unarmed people for attack.

This would fit quite well with my assertion that daily exposure to exposed weapons could ease the law-abiding public's anxiety about guns, because they would be a familiar accessory. If an unarmed person is likely to be a frequent target for crime, they would be pressured to change their attitude for their own safety. The result would be almost universal armament. Gun-control controversies would simply vanish on that happy day when everyone is armed and displaying their weapons.

So, why the emphasis on concealment? Wear your guns openly and proudly!

Also, if carried guns are displayed openly, there won't be any issue about gun-registration databases being used by the government to quietly disarm citizens. Everyone will know who is armed just by looking at them.

It's all so simple . . .

Posted by: Daniel Kim on July 27, 2009 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not really sure why this wouldn't be a good idea other than a lot of the wrong people might wind up with bullet holes in them. I've never figured out who the people who want to carry a gun are afraid of, but if they want to carry a gun, okay. However, I do have one suggestion.
They should amend all Concealed Carry laws to be required open-carry. This would allow all people a chance to decide whether they want to ride an elevator with a trigger-happy bed-wetter.

Posted by: FitterDon on July 27, 2009 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

Oh... my... goodness.
_________________________

>>>>"Wow, a lot of idiots here.

As a total left gun owner, Sebastion is right on.

Funny how you cannot argue the issue without resorting to name calling. Logic was never on the side of gun banners."

Posted by: dcdc on July 27, 2009 at 1:54 PM

Posted by: bpis on July 27, 2009 at 9:07 PM | PERMALINK

>>No thanks. The nuts who are most likely to carry weapons into the capital and kill a senator wouldn't be aiming for McConnell or Inhofe, they would go after Russ Feingold or Barbara Boxer or some other fascist liberal enemy of the great god Rush.

Ironic choice of examples here, since Feingold was in favor of the amendment.

Posted by: SharaiP on July 28, 2009 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

No new ideas in comments here, that weren't hashed out in 1994 or so.

Odd that despite 40 or so states legislating legal concealed carry of handguns at this time, the arguments have not advanced at all in 15 years.

Of course, if the anti-rights, anti-self defense side had any new arguments, maybe the number of states with legalized concealed carry would not be so high.

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