Political Animal

Blog

April 04, 2012 11:19 AM No Pause For Reflection By Gun Lobby Allies

By Ed Kilgore

In the midst of the furor surrounding the killing of Trayvon Martin, there may have been a bit of a discussion among the chattering classes about the broader implications of policies encouraging citizens to assume the roles traditionally assigned to police officers enjoying a monopoly on the legitimate use of deadly force

But in state capitals around the country, the gun lobby’s drive to arm the population as heavily as possible hasn’t paused for any real debate. Here’s a quick summary from Stateline’s Maggie Clark:

The Kansas House passed a bill last month to allow concealed-carry permit holders to carry their weapons into any public building that doesn’t have “adequate security,” like metal detectors or security guards, and Oregon pro-gun legislators narrowly defeated a bill that would have banned guns on schools grounds, which included K-12 schools, community colleges and universities.
Virginia repealed its statute that blocked residents from buying more than one gun a month unless they got dispensation from the police, and Oklahoma legislators are likely to allow gun owners to visibly carry their now concealed weapons.
South Dakota lawmakers ventured the farthest in removing gun restrictions this session by voting to get rid of concealed-carry permit requirements and allow any state resident over age 18 with a valid drivers’ license to carry a concealed weapon without undergoing the background check now needed for a permit. Under the legislation, law enforcement officers in the field would have had to assess whether the gun owner had a criminal background or mental illness history that would preclude them from carrying the gun.

This last measure, at least, did go too far, and was vetoed by Gov. Dennis Daugaard after pleas from law enforcement officials. Alaska, Arizona, Vermont and Wyoming, however, already allow the carrying of concealed weapons without a permit.

More generally, as Clark noted:

[L]egislation loosening gun restrictions is still gaining momentum, even in Washington. The national “right-to-carry” reciprocity act was just introduced in the U.S. Senate, which would allow any person with a valid concealed-carry permit to carry their handgun in any other state that issues permits. The National Rifle Association is heavily supporting the bill, which passed the House last year by a vote of 272-154.

Like the rash of new laws around the country restricting abortion rights, the let’s-arm-everybody drive is in no small part a consequence of the 2010 elections, which may have largely been fought on other issues, but nonetheless empowered ideologues with a much broader agenda than was typically advertised.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

Comments

  • rusty chainsaw on April 04, 2012 11:32 AM:

    "Pause for Reflection" is so un-manly. Where a gun is the ultimate male enhancement.

  • Hedda Peraz on April 04, 2012 11:37 AM:

    Like most movements the PEPP ("Pistol in Every Pair of Pants" )laws are driven by money. Handguns cost about $500 each, and, to paraphrase the Captain and Tennille, "One is never enough for a man like you."

  • sick-n-effn-tired. on April 04, 2012 11:38 AM:

    What will it take!!??

    A congresswoman getting shot by a maniac with 33 bullets loaded in a handgun? Oh wait ...

    Never mind


    That was a kid walking while black .
    Nothing to see here move along

  • JMG on April 04, 2012 11:44 AM:

    I have always wondered why al-Qaeda uses bombings instead of firearms when thinking of U.S. attacks. Guns are a pressure point in our society, whereas everybody's against bombs. The social disruption which would have taken place if 9/11 had been 20 separate shopping mall massacres with automatic weapons would've been enormous.

  • navarro on April 04, 2012 11:44 AM:

    perhaps the thing to do is to get progressives involved in bearing arms to the maximum extent possible and try to stage a leftist takeover of the nra.

  • Raenelle on April 04, 2012 11:46 AM:

    I worry about this. There's no way to roll back any but the most obscene gun laws, and maybe not even them. But we keep whinging about the gun laws, and they keep arming. This can't be good.

  • TCinLA on April 04, 2012 12:03 PM:

    How interesting. In the "Wild West" so many of these idiots pine for, the first mark of civilization in a community was the requirement that guns not be carried within the city/town limits, on pain of being shot by the local law enforcement officer if one failed to comply.

  • kanopsis on April 04, 2012 12:34 PM:

    The Kansas House passed a bill last month to allow concealed-carry permit holders to carry their weapons into any public building that doesn’t have “adequate security,” like metal detectors or security guards

    I don't understand this at all... If every public building had "adequate security" and anyone going in had to go through a metal detector or be wanded, and security guards were stationed everywhere these guys would be screaming bloody murder about communist takeovers of the government. I'm not sure they can think past the ends of their noses.

    I do believe the inmates are running the asylum.

  • del on April 04, 2012 12:50 PM:

    I hear the opening of the "Lone Ranger", to paraphrase..."let us return to yesteryear..." and the music of Kool Moe Dee cues up "The Wild Wild West". And here we thought we were living in civilized times.

  • Sandtress on April 04, 2012 1:05 PM:

    "perhaps the thing to do is to get progressives involved in bearing arms to the maximum extent possible and try to stage a leftist takeover of the nra."

    I've often thought that if thousands of registered Democrats started buying guns and joining the NRA, the right might be more amenable to gun laws.

    We live in thuggish times.

  • Mimikatz on April 04, 2012 1:13 PM:

    The passage of these laws may stem from GOP victories in 2010 but the impetus for the laws is Obama's victory in 2008.

    Why do so many men think that if things aren't going well in their life they can just go shoot someone or maybe 7 people, as in Oakland, and they will feel much better?

  • Sgt. Gym Bunny on April 04, 2012 1:43 PM:

    " Under the legislation, law enforcement officers in the field would have had to assess whether the gun owner had a criminal background or mental illness history that would preclude them from carrying the gun.

    I wonder how this would have turned out for non-white citizens carrying concealed weapons...

    "This last measure, at least, did go too far, and was vetoed by Gov. Dennis Daugaard after pleas from law enforcement officials."

    Good enough. My pickle is that I thought the Republicans were the "law and order" hype men. But by getting all cozy with the gun lobbies they seem to be throwing police officers and their legitimate concerns about public safety under the bus. But it would fit into the GOP meme that anything government-run and unionized must be incompetent, and private entities could do a better job of policing anywhos...

  • Ocotillo on April 04, 2012 4:15 PM:

    I wonder how long before they fight for the right to carry concealed weapons on airplanes?

  • Texas Aggie on April 04, 2012 4:49 PM:

    Wyatt Earp was:

    A ) a gun rights defender, whose efforts to defend the rights of citizens to bear arms led to the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.
    B ) a gun control advocate whose efforts to make Tombstone less dangerous for peaceful citizens led to the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.
    C ) a guy who became famous for having a really weird name.

    Hint: well, he did have a weird name, but think, “Check your guns at the door, gentlemen.”

    Ocotillo, I think that is in part what this foolishness in the House, The national “right-to-carry” reciprocity act, is about. They are going to argue that if people could carry guns onto plans, then hijackings wouldn't occur, similar to the arguments for arming the students after this shooting at VA Tech.

  • Litterbox on April 05, 2012 7:15 AM:

    None of these shootings, or any that I know of or can recall, was committed by anyone with a concealed handgun permit. Criminal control should be the priority, not necessarily gun control in the hands of responsible, law abiding citizens.

  • Litterbox on April 05, 2012 7:42 AM:

    Additionally, nothing in the Martin case has anything to do with legal, concealed carry. The media and others are trying to make the round peg of gun control fit the square hole of the latest high profile shooting. Its also not about arming everyone just because. Every person has the right to defend themselves and the concealed carry laws have allowed this to happen in an overwhelming success. If you choose not to carry a gun to protect yourself and your loved ones should the need arise, thats your choice, but please do not judge others for accepting the responsibility and doing it legally.

    Seeking to control the tool someone uses to commit a violent act is akin to outlawing booze because a drunk caused an accident.

    Finally, a question, lets say that all guns were outlawed today. No more concealed carry, no more guns in the home for defense etc. Do you really think gun violence would go away at that point?

  • boatboy_srq on April 05, 2012 10:13 AM:

    @Litterbox:

    Nice straw man. Pity outlawing guns is all the Left talks about these days. Oh, wait...


    And accepting the responsibility and doing it legally is the problem. Thanks to Stand Your Ground laws, the latter of your requirements no longer requires the former. Case in point: the non-story from FL prior to the Martin case was a number of gang violence episodes that the FL AG couldn't prosecute because of Stand Your Ground.

    There's a difference between providing for self-defense and enabling homicide.

    You're right that the Martin case doesn't have anything to do with legal, concealed carry - outside the fact that without it, Zimmerman wouldn't have had a gun he could use (and then claim Stand Your Ground as legal justification) for killing a neighbor's 17-year-old kid. Martin is about paranoia, stereotyping, prejudice and flat-out racism, and gun violence here is just an especially ugly accessory. OTOH, without that accessory the underlying cause wouldn't be a story in the MSM, just business-as-usual in reactionary TP suburbia.

    And while you're busy defending Zimmerman for having a gun with him on what should have been an observe-and-report community patrol, think about this: if you have children, how often have you told them to be wary of - and flee from - creeps who stalk them? Trayvon Martin was (from nearly all the press coverage so far) doing exactly what we tell our kids to do - run away from weird strangers in cars who follow them around, because they could be pervs or murderers who'll kidnap, abuse and kill them. There's no excuse for killing a child for doing exactly what we tell him to do.

  • Litterbox on April 05, 2012 7:48 PM:

    @boatboy_srq

    Wow. Where, at any point, did I defend Zimmerman? I haven't really been following the Martin case, but from just the inkling I know of it, it sounds as if he was outside the intent of the stand your ground law. My specialty is Texas law (cop for over 20 years). I have no idea about Florida but I also know not to rush to judge when Ive yet to see the wording of the law. IF he has not met the legal requirements of the stand your ground law, he should be charged with the crime, period.

    If the FL AG cannot prosecute gang members due to stand your ground laws, then it sounds as if the law is written in a very flawed fashion. We have similar laws here in Texas, but do not have the problem of not being able to prosecute.

    I took the time to read the statute and its wording is pretty similar to Texas. I also read a little about this case and while Im not ready to defend Zimmerman, I was not there and based on what the Orlando Sentinel wrote, it sounds as if Zimmerman may have been the victim based on the actual evidence thus far. In deadly force situations, the only real requirement for the person using deadly force to defend themselves is for that person to reasonably believe that their life is in danger. If Zimmerman was having his head slammed into the ground as the evidence showed (cuts, treatment by EMS) then its possible he was afraid for his life. Again, neither I nor anyone else can determine if Zimmerman was afraid for his life or not. That will be a question for a FL grand jury. I just hope they investigate this as a matter of criminal investigation rather than seeking to placate a mob looking for their version of justice when its possible that Martin was the aggressor.